Tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibits type I collagen synthesis through repressive CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins

Patricia Greenwel, Shizuko Tanaka, Dmitri Penkov, Wen Zhang, Michelle Olive, Jonathan Moll, Charles Vinson, Maurizio Di Liberto, Francesco Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) formation and remodeling are critical processes for proper morphogenesis, organogenesis, and tissue repair. The proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) inhibits ECM accumulation by stimulating the expression of matrix proteolytic enzymes and by downregulating the deposition of structural macromolecules such as type I collagen. Stimulation of ECM degradation has been linked to prolonged activation of jun gene expression by the cytokine. Here we demonstrate that TNF-α inhibits transcription of the gene coding for the α2 chain of type I collagen [α2(I) collagen] in cultured fibroblasts by stimulating the synthesis and binding of repressive CCAAT/enhancer proteins (C/EBPs) to a previously identified TNF-α-responsive element. This conclusion was based on the concomitant identification of C/EBPβ and C/EBPδ as TNF-α-induced factors by biochemical purification and expression library screening. It was further supported by the ability of the C/EBP-specific dominant-negative (DN) protein to block TNF-α inhibition of α2(I) collagen but not TNF-α stimulation of the MMP-13 protease. The DN protein also blocked TNF-α downregulation of the gene coding for the α1 chain of type I collagen. The study therefore implicates repressive C/EBPs in the TNF-α-induced signaling pathway that controls ECM formation and remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-918
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


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