The protein encoded by this intronless gene is a bZIP transcription factor that can bind as a homodimer to certain DNA regulatory regions. It can also form heterodimers with the related proteins CEBP-alpha, CEBP-delta, and CEBP-gamma. The encoded protein is important in the regulation of genes involved in immune and inflammatory responses and has been shown to bind to the IL-1 response element in the IL-6 gene, as well as to regulatory regions of several acute-phase and cytokine genes. In addition, the encoded protein can bind the promoter and upstream element and stimulate the expression of the collagen type I gene.
CEBP-beta is critical for normal macrophage functioning, an important immune cell sub-type; mice unable to express CEBP-beta have macrophages that cannot differentiate (specialize) and thus are unable to perform all their biological functions - including macrophage-mediated muscle repair.Observational work has shown that expression of CEBP-beta in blood leukocytes is positively associated with muscle strength in humans, emphasizing the importance of the immune system, and particularly macrophages, in the maintenance of muscle function.
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