The anti-apoptotic factor Che-1/AATF links transcriptional regulation, cell cycle control, and DNA damage response

Claudio Passananti, Maurizio Fanciulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Che-1 is a RNA polymerase II binding protein involved in the transcriptional regulation of E2F target genes and in cell proliferation. Recently, it has been shown that Che-1 accumulates in cells responding to genotoxic agents such as Doxorubicin and ionizing radiation. The DNA damage-activated checkpoint kinases ATM and Chk2 interact with and phosphorylate Che-1, enhancing its accumulation and stability, and promoting Che-1-mediated transcription of p53-responsive genes and of p53 itself, as evidenced by microarray analysis. This transcriptional response is suppressed by expression of a Che-1 mutant lacking ATM and Chk2 phosphorylation amino acid residues, or by depletion of Che-1 by RNA silencing. In addition, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis has shown that Che-1 is released from E2F target genes and recruited to the p21 and p53 promoters after DNA damage. Che-1 contributes to the maintenance of the G2/M checkpoint in response to genotoxic stress. These findings identify a new mechanism by which the checkpoint kinases regulate, via the novel effector Che-1, the p53 pathway. Lastly, increasing evidence suggests that Che-1 may be involved in apoptotic signaling in neural tissues. In cortical neurons, Che-1 exhibits anti-apoptotic activity, protecting cells from neuronal damage induced by amyloid β-peptide. In cerebellar granule neurons, Che-1 interacts with Tau in the cytoplasmic compartment and this interaction is modulated during neuronal apoptosis. Finally, Che-1 directly interacts with the neuronal cell-death inducer "NRAGE" which downregulates endogenous Che-1 by targeting it for proteasome-dependent degradation. These findings identify Che-1 as a novel cytoprotective factor against apoptotic insults and suggest that Che-1 may represent a potential target for therapeutic application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalCell Division
Publication statusPublished - Jul 16 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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