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ELKS1 controls mast cell degranulation by regulating the transcription of Stxbp2 and Syntaxin 4 via Kdm2b stabilization

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Science Advances  31 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 31, eabb2497
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2497


ELKS1 is a protein with proposed roles in regulated exocytosis in neurons and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling in cancer cells. However, how these two potential roles come together under physiological settings remain unknown. Since both regulated exocytosis and NF-κB signaling are determinants of mast cell (MC) functions, we generated mice lacking ELKS1 in connective tissue MCs (Elks1f/f Mcpt5-Cre) and found that while ELKS1 is dispensable for NF-κB–mediated cytokine production, it is essential for MC degranulation both in vivo and in vitro. Impaired degranulation was caused by reduced transcription of Syntaxin 4 (STX4) and Syntaxin binding protein 2 (Stxpb2), resulting from a lack of ELKS1-mediated stabilization of lysine-specific demethylase 2B (Kdm2b), which is an essential regulator of STX4 and Stxbp2 transcription. These results suggest a transcriptional role for active-zone proteins like ELKS1 and suggest that they may regulate exocytosis through a novel mechanism involving transcription of key exocytosis proteins.

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