Parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates the transcription of many genes in the osteoblast. One of these genes is Mmp13, which is involved in bone remodeling and early stages of endochondral bone formation. Previously, we reported that PTH induces Mmp13 transcription by regulating the dissociation of histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) from runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), and the association of the HATs, p300, and p300/CREB binding protein (CBP)-associated factor. It is known that, in addition to Runx2, HDAC4 binds to the transcription factor, myocyte-specific enhancer factor 2c (MEF2C), and represses its activity. In this work, we investigated whether MEF2C participates in PTH-stimulated Mmp13 gene expression in osteoblastic cells and how it does so. Knockdown of Mef2c in UMR 106-01 cells repressed Mmp13 messenger RNA expression and promoter activity with or without PTH treatment. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays showed that MEF2C associated with the Mmp13 promoter; this increased after 4 hours of PTH treatment. ChIP-reChIP results indicate that endogenous MEF2C associates with HDAC4 on the Mmp13 promoter; after PTH treatment, this association decreased. From gel shift, ChIP, and promoter-reporter assays, MEF2C was found to associate with the activator protein-1 (AP-1) site without directly binding to DNA and had its stimulatory effect through interaction with c-FOS. In conclusion, MEF2C is necessary for Mmp13 gene expression at the transcriptional level and participates in PTH-stimulated Mmp13 gene expression by increased binding to c-FOS at the AP-1 site in the Mmp13 promoter. The observation of MEF2C interacting with a member of the AP-1 transcription factor family provides knowledge of the functions of HDAC4, c-FOS, and MEF2C.
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