Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(9):917-933. doi:10.7150/ijbs.7224 This issue
Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD-21702-1201, U.S.A.
The CCAAT/enhancer binding protein delta (CEBPD, C/EBPδ) is a transcription factor that modulates many biological processes including cell differentiation, motility, growth arrest, proliferation, and cell death. The diversity of C/EBPδ's functions depends in part on the cell type and cellular context and can have opposing outcomes. For example, C/EBPδ promotes inflammatory signaling, but it can also inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways, and in a mouse model of mammary tumorigenesis, C/EBPδ reduces tumor incidence but promotes tumor metastasis. This review highlights the multifaceted nature of C/EBPδ's functions, with an emphasis on pathways that are relevant for cancer and inflammation, and illustrates how C/EBPδ emerged from the shadow of its family members as a fascinating “jack of all trades.” Our current knowledge on C/EBPδ indicates that, rather than being essential for a specific cellular process, C/EBPδ helps to interpret a variety of cues in a cell-type and context-dependent manner, to adjust cellular functions to specific situations. Therefore, insights into the roles and mechanisms of C/EBPδ signaling can lead to a better understanding of how the integration of different signaling pathways dictates normal and pathological cell functions and physiology.
Keywords: C/EBP, transcription factor, cell signaling, inflammation, cancer.