Transcriptional activator which binds specifically to the MEF2 element, 5'-YTA[AT](4)TAR-3', found in numerous muscle-specific genes. Also involved in the activation of numerous growth factor- and stress-induced genes. Mediates cellular functions not only in skeletal and cardiac muscle development, but also in neuronal differentiation and survival. Plays diverse roles in the control of cell growth, survival and apoptosis via p38 MAPK signaling in muscle-specific and/or growth factor-related transcription. In cerebellar granule neurons, phosphorylated and sumoylated MEF2A represses transcription of NUR77 promoting synaptic differentiation.
Isoform MEF2 and isoform MEFA are expressed only in skeletal and cardiac muscle and in the brain. Isoform RSRFC4 and isoform RSRFC9 are expressed in all tissues examined.
Involvement in disease
Defects in MEF2A might be a cause of autosomal dominant coronary artery disease 1 with myocardial infarction (ADCAD1) [MIM:608320].
Belongs to the MEF2 family. Contains 1 MADS-box domain. Contains 1 Mef2-type DNA-binding domain.
Constitutive phosphorylation on Ser-408 promotes Lys-403 sumoylation thus preventing acetylation at this site. Dephosphorylation on Ser-408 by PPP3CA upon neuron depolarization promotes a switch from sumoylation to acetylation on residue Lys-403 leading to inhibition of dendrite claw differentiation. Phosphorylation on Thr-312 and Thr-319 are the main sites involved in p38 MAPK signaling and activate transcription. Phosphorylated on these sites by MAPK14/p38alpha and MAPK11/p38beta, but not by MAPK13/p38delta nor by MAPK12/p38gamma. Phosphorylation on Ser-408 by CDK5 induced by neurotoxicity inhibits MEF2A transcriptional activation leading to apoptosis of cortical neurons. Phosphorylation on Thr-312, Thr-319 and Ser-355 can be induced by EGF. Sumoylation on Lys-403 is enhanced by PIAS1 and represses transcriptional activity. Phosphorylation on Ser-408 is required for sumoylation. Has no effect on nuclear location nor on DNA binding. Sumoylated by SUMO1 and, to a lesser extent by SUMO2 and SUMO3. PIASx facilitates sumoylation in postsynaptic dendrites in the cerebellar cortex and promotes their morphogenesis. Acetylation on Lys-403 activates transcriptional activity. Acetylated by p300 on several sites in diffentiating myocytes. Acetylation on Lys-4 increases DNA binding and transactivation (By similarity). Hyperacetylation by p300 leads to enhanced cardiac myocyte growth and heart failure. Proteolytically cleaved in cerebellar granule neurons on several sites by caspase 3 and caspase 7 following neurotoxicity. Preferentially cleaves the CDK5-mediated hyperphosphorylated form which leads to neuron apoptosis and transcriptional inactivation.