P311, a conserved, 8-kDa, intracellular protein expressed in brain, smooth muscle, regenerating tissues, and malignant glioblastomas, represents the first-documented pan-stimulator of TGF-?1-3 translation in vitro and in vivo. Here, we initiated efforts to define the mechanism underlying P311 function. PONDR analysis suggested and circular dichroism (CD) confirmed that P311 is an intrinsically disordered protein, requiring therefore an interacting partner to acquire tertiary structure and function. Immunoprecipitation, coupled with mass spectroscopy, identified eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit b (eIF3b) as a novel P311 binding partner. Immunohistochemical co-localization, GST pulldown, and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) studies revealed that P311-eIF3b interaction is direct and has a Kd of 1.26 uM. Binding sites were mapped to the non-canonical RNA recognition motif (RRM) of eIF3b and a central 11 amino acid-long region of P311, here referred to as eIF3b binding motif (EBM). Disruption of P311-eIF3b binding inhibited translation of TGF-?1, 2 and 3, as indicated by luciferase reporter assays, polysome fractionation studies, and western blot analysis. RIP assays after UV-crosslinking and RNA-protein EMSA demonstrated that P311 directly binds to TGF-? 5'UTRs mRNAs through a previously unidentified RRM-like motif. Our results demonstrate that P311 is a novel RNA-binding protein that by interacting with TGF-?s 5'UTRs and eIF3b stimulates the translation of TGF-?1, 2 and 3.
Inhibition of growth of the intestinal epithelium, a rapidly self-renewing tissue, is commonly found in various critical disorders. The RNA-binding protein HuR is highly expressed in the gut mucosa and modulates the stability and translation of target mRNAs, but its exact biological function in the intestinal epithelium remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of HuR in intestinal homeostasis using a genetic model and further defined its target mRNAs. Targeted deletion of HuR in intestinal epithelial cells caused significant mucosal atrophy in the small intestine, as indicated by decreased cell proliferation within the crypts and subsequent shrinkages of crypts and villi. In addition, the HuR-deficient intestinal epithelium also displayed decreased regenerative potential of crypt progenitors after exposure to irradiation. HuR deficiency decreased expression of the Wnt coreceptor LDL receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) in the mucosal tissues. At the molecular level, HuR was found to bind the Lrp6 mRNA via its 3'-untranslated region and enhanced LRP6 expression by stabilizing Lrp6 mRNA and stimulating its translation. These results indicate that HuR is essential for normal mucosal growth in the small intestine by altering Wnt signals through up-regulation of LRP6 expression and highlight a novel role of HuR deficiency in the pathogenesis of intestinal mucosal atrophy under pathological conditions.
Antiretroviral therapy extends the lifespan of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, but many survivors develop premature impairments in cognition. These residual cognitive impairments may involve aberrant deposition of amyloid ?-peptides (A?). By unknown mechanisms, A? accumulates in the lysosomal and autophagic compartments of neurons in the HIV-infected brain. Here we identify the molecular events evoked by the HIV coat protein gp120 that facilitate the intraneuronal accumulation of A?. We created a triple transgenic gp120/APP/PS1 mouse that recapitulates intraneuronal deposition of A? in a manner reminiscent of the HIV-infected brain. In cultured neurons, we found that the HIV coat protein gp120 increased the transcriptional expression of BACE1 through repression of PPAR?, and increased APP expression by promoting interaction of the translation-activating RBP heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C with APP mRNA. APP and BACE1 were colocalized into stabilized membrane microdomains, where the ?-cleavage of APP and A? formation were enhanced. A?-peptides became localized to lysosomes that were engorged with sphingomyelin and calcium. Stimulating calcium efflux from lysosomes with a TRPM1 agonist promoted calcium efflux, luminal acidification, and cleared both sphingomyelin and A? from lysosomes. These findings suggest that therapeutics targeted to reduce lysosomal pH in neurodegenerative conditions may protect neurons by facilitating the clearance of accumulated sphingolipids and A?-peptides.
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins are potent post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. The ncRNA 7SL is upregulated in cancer cells, but its impact upon the phenotype of cancer cells is unknown. Here, we present evidence that 7SL forms a partial hybrid with the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of TP53 mRNA, which encodes the tumor suppressor p53. The interaction of 7SL with TP53 mRNA reduced p53 translation, as determined by analyzing p53 expression levels, nascent p53 translation and TP53 mRNA association with polysomes. Silencing 7SL led to increased binding of HuR to TP53 mRNA, an interaction that led to the promotion of p53 translation and increased p53 abundance. We propose that the competition between 7SL and HuR for binding to TP53 3'UTR contributes to determining the magnitude of p53 translation, in turn affecting p53 levels and the growth-suppressive function of p53. Our findings suggest that targeting 7SL may be effective in the treatment of cancers with reduced p53 levels.
Menin regulates distinct cellular functions by regulating gene transcription through its interaction with partner transcription factors, but the exact mechanisms that control Menin levels remain largely unknown. Here we report that Men1 mRNA, encoding Menin, is a novel target of microRNA-29b (miR-29b) and that miR-29b/Men1 mRNA association regulates Menin expression posttranscriptionally in rat intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Overexpression of a miR-29b precursor lowered modestly the levels of Men1 mRNA, but reduced robustly the de novo synthesis of Menin; conversely, antagonization of miR-29b enhanced Menin protein synthesis and steady-state levels. The repressive effect of miR-29b on Menin expression was mediated through a single binding site in the coding region of Men1 mRNA, since point mutation of this site prevented miR-29b-induced repression of Menin translation. Increasing cellular polyamines due to overexpression of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) enhanced Menin translation by reducing miR-29b, whereas polyamine depletion by inhibiting ODC increased miR-29b, thus suppressing Menin expression. Moreover, an increase in Menin abundance in miR-29b-silenced population of IECs led to increased sensitivity to apoptosis, which was prevented by silencing Menin. These findings indicate that miR-29b represses translation of Men1 mRNA, in turn affecting intestinal epithelial homeostasis by altering IEC apoptosis.
Methylation is a prevalent posttranscriptional modification of RNAs. However, whether mammalian microRNAs are methylated is unknown. Here, we show that the tRNA methyltransferase NSun2 methylates primary (pri-miR-125b), precursor (pre-miR-125b), and mature microRNA 125b (miR-125b) in vitro and in vivo. Methylation by NSun2 inhibits the processing of pri-miR-125b2 into pre-miR-125b2, decreases the cleavage of pre-miR-125b2 into miR-125, and attenuates the recruitment of RISC by miR-125, thereby repressing the function of miR-125b in silencing gene expression. Our results highlight the impact of miR-125b function via methylation by NSun2.
The mammalian RNA-binding protein AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1, also known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D [hnRNP D]) binds to numerous mRNAs and influences their posttranscriptional fate. Given that many AUF1 target mRNAs encode muscle-specific factors, we investigated the function of AUF1 in skeletal muscle differentiation. In mouse C2C12 myocytes, where AUF1 levels rise at the onset of myogenesis and remain elevated throughout myocyte differentiation into myotubes, RNP immunoprecipitation (RIP) analysis indicated that AUF1 binds prominently to Mef2c (myocyte enhancer factor 2c) mRNA, which encodes the key myogenic transcription factor MEF2C. By performing mRNA half-life measurements and polysome distribution analysis, we found that AUF1 associated with the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of Mef2c mRNA and promoted MEF2C translation without affecting Mef2c mRNA stability. In addition, AUF1 promoted Mef2c gene transcription via a lesser-known role of AUF1 in transcriptional regulation. Importantly, lowering AUF1 delayed myogenesis, while ectopically restoring MEF2C expression levels partially rescued the impairment of myogenesis seen after reducing AUF1 levels. We propose that MEF2C is a key effector of the myogenesis program promoted by AUF1.
T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1) is a key DNA/RNA binding protein that regulates translation by sequestering target mRNAs in stress granules (SG) in response to stress conditions. TIA-1 possesses three RNA recognition motifs (RRM) along with a glutamine-rich domain, with the central domains (RRM2 and RRM3) acting as RNA binding platforms. While the RRM2 domain, which displays high affinity for U-rich RNA sequences, is primarily responsible for interaction with RNA, the contribution of RRM3 to bind RNA as well as the target RNA sequences that it binds preferentially are still unknown. Here we combined nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) techniques to elucidate the sequence specificity of TIA-1 RRM3. With a novel approach using saturation transfer difference NMR (STD-NMR) to quantify protein-nucleic acids interactions, we demonstrate that isolated RRM3 binds to both C- and U-rich stretches with micromolar affinity. In combination with RRM2 and in the context of full-length TIA-1, RRM3 significantly enhanced the binding to RNA, particularly to cytosine-rich RNA oligos, as assessed by biotinylated RNA pull-down analysis. Our findings provide new insight into the role of RRM3 in regulating TIA-1 binding to C-rich stretches, that are abundant at the 5' TOPs (5' terminal oligopyrimidine tracts) of mRNAs whose translation is repressed under stress situations.
Post-transcriptional gene regulation is robustly regulated by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Here we describe the collection of RNAs regulated by AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1), an RBP linked to cancer, inflammation and aging. Photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) analysis reveals that AUF1 primarily recognizes U-/GU-rich sequences in mRNAs and noncoding RNAs and influences target transcript fate in three main directions. First, AUF1 lowers the steady-state levels of numerous target RNAs, including long noncoding RNA NEAT1, in turn affecting the organization of nuclear paraspeckles. Second, AUF1 does not change the abundance of many target RNAs, but ribosome profiling reveals that AUF1 promotes the translation of numerous mRNAs in this group. Third, AUF1 unexpectedly enhances the steady-state levels of several target mRNAs encoding DNA-maintenance proteins. Through its actions on target RNAs, AUF1 preserves genomic integrity, in agreement with the AUF1-elicited prevention of premature cellular senescence.
ABCA1 is a major regulator of cellular cholesterol efflux and plasma HDL biogenesis. Even though the transcriptional activation of ABCA1 is well established, the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the potential contribution of the RNA binding protein (RBP) human antigen R (HuR) on the posttranscriptional regulation of ABCA1 expression. RNA immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate a direct interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. We found that HuR binds to the 3' untranslated region of ABCA1 and increases ABCA1 translation, while HuR silencing reduces ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux to ApoA1 in human hepatic (Huh-7) and monocytic (THP-1) cells. Interestingly, cellular cholesterol levels regulate the expression, intracellular localization, and interaction between HuR and ABCA1 mRNA. Finally, we found that HuR expression was significantly increased in macrophages from human atherosclerotic plaques, suggesting an important role for this RBP in controlling macrophage cholesterol metabolism in vivo. In summary, we have identified HuR as a novel posttranscriptional regulator of ABCA1 expression and cellular cholesterol homeostasis, thereby opening new avenues for increasing cholesterol efflux from atherosclerotic foam macrophages and raising circulat-ing HDL cholesterol levels.
In mammals, the vast majority of transcripts expressed are noncoding RNAs, ranging from short RNAs (including microRNAs) to long RNAs spanning up to hundreds of kb. While the actions of microRNAs as destabilizers and repressors of the translation of protein-coding transcripts (mRNAs) have been studied in detail, the influence of microRNAs on long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) function is only now coming into view. Conversely, the influence of lncRNAs upon microRNA function is also rapidly emerging. In some cases, lncRNA stability is reduced through the interaction of specific miRNAs. In other cases, lncRNAs can act as microRNA decoys, with the sequestration of microRNAs favoring expression of repressed target mRNAs. Other lncRNAs derepress gene expression by competing with miRNAs for interaction with shared target mRNAs. Finally, some lncRNAs can produce miRNAs, leading to repression of target mRNAs. These microRNA-lncRNA regulatory paradigms modulate gene expression patterns that drive major cellular processes (such as cell differentiation, proliferation, and cell death) which are central to mammalian physiologic and pathologic processes. We review and summarize the types of microRNA-lncRNA crosstalk identified to-date and discuss their influence on gene expression programs.
The primarily neuronal RNA-binding protein HuD is implicated in learning and memory. Here, we report the identification of several HuD target transcripts linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. HuD interacted with the 3' UTRs of APP mRNA (encoding amyloid precursor protein) and BACE1 mRNA (encoding ?-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1) and increased the half-lives of these mRNAs. HuD also associated with and stabilized the long noncoding (lnc)RNA BACE1AS, which partly complements BACE1 mRNA and enhances BACE1 expression. Consistent with HuD promoting production of APP and APP-cleaving enzyme, the levels of APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and A? were higher in the brain of HuD-overexpressing mice. Importantly, cortex (superior temporal gyrus) from patients with AD displayed significantly higher levels of HuD and, accordingly, elevated APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and A? than did cortical tissue from healthy age-matched individuals. We propose that HuD jointly promotes the production of APP and the cleavage of its amyloidogenic fragment, A?.
HuR promotes myogenesis by stabilizing the MyoD, myogenin and p21 mRNAs during the fusion of muscle cells to form myotubes. Here we show that HuR, via a novel mRNA destabilizing activity, promotes the early steps of myogenesis by reducing the expression of the cell cycle promoter nucleophosmin (NPM). Depletion of HuR stabilizes the NPM mRNA, increases NPM protein levels and inhibits myogenesis, while its overexpression elicits the opposite effects. NPM mRNA destabilization involves the association of HuR with the decay factor KSRP as well as the ribonuclease PARN and the exosome. The C terminus of HuR mediates the formation of the HuR-KSRP complex and is sufficient for maintaining a low level of the NPM mRNA as well as promoting the commitment of muscle cells to myogenesis. We therefore propose a model whereby the downregulation of the NPM mRNA, mediated by HuR, KSRP and its associated ribonucleases, is required for proper myogenesis.
Deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) and human antigen R (HuR) have been associated with response to gemcitabine in small studies. The present study investigates the prognostic and predictive value of dCK and HuR expression levels for sensitivity to gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in a large phase III adjuvant trial with chemoradiation backbone in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). The dCK and HuR expression levels were determined by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray of 165 resected PDAs from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 9704 trial. Association with overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) status were analyzed using the log-rank test and the Cox proportional hazards model. Experiments with cultured PDA cells were performed to explore mechanisms linking dCK and HuR expression to drug sensitivity. dCK expression levels were associated with improved OS for all patients analyzed from RTOG 9704 (HR: 0.66, 95% CI [0.47-0.93], P = 0.015). In a subset analysis based on treatment arm, the effect was restricted to patients receiving 5-FU (HR: 0.53, 95% CI [0.33-0.85], P = 0.0078). Studies in cultured cells confirmed that dCK expression rendered cells more sensitive to 5-FU. HuR cytoplasmic expression was neither prognostic nor predictive of treatment response. Previous studies along with drug sensitivity and biochemical studies demonstrate that radiation interferes with HuR's regulatory effects on dCK, and could account for the negative findings herein based on the clinical study design (i.e., inclusion of radiation). Finally, we demonstrate that 5-FU can increase HuR function by enhancing HuR translocation from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, similar to the effect of gemcitabine in PDA cells. For the first time, in the pre-treatment tumor samples, dCK and HuR cytoplasmic expression were strongly correlated (chi-square P = 0.015). This dual-institutional follow up study, in a multi-institutional PDA randomized clinical trial, observed that dCK expression levels were prognostic and had predictive value for sensitivity to 5-FU.
Smad ubiquitin regulatory factor 2 (Smurf2) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that regulates transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?)/Smad signaling and is implicated in a wide variety of cellular responses, but the exact mechanisms that control Smurf2 abundance are largely unknown. Here we identify microRNA-322 (miR-322) and miR-503 as novel factors that regulate Smurf2 expression posttranscriptionally. Both miR-322 and miR-503 interact with Smurf2 mRNA via its 3'-untranslated region (UTR) and repress Smurf2 translation but do not affect total Smurf2 mRNA levels. Studies using heterologous reporter constructs reveal a greater repressive effect of miR-322/503 through a single binding site in the Smurf2 3'-UTR, whereas point mutation of this site prevents miR-322/503-induced repression of Smurf2 translation. Increased levels of endogenous Smurf2 via antagonism of miR-322/503 inhibits TGF-?-induced Smad2 activation by increasing degradation of phosphorylated Smad2. Furthermore, the increase in Smurf2 in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) expressing lower levels of miR-322/503 is associated with increased resistance to apoptosis, which is abolished by Smurf2 silencing. These findings indicate that miR-322/503 represses Smurf2 translation, in turn affecting intestinal epithelial homeostasis by altering TGF-?/Smad2 signaling and IEC apoptosis.
The posttranscriptional mechanisms by which RNA binding proteins (RBPs) regulate T-cell differentiation and cytokine production in vivo remain unclear. The RBP HuR binds to labile mRNAs, usually leading to increases in mRNA stability and/or translation. Previous work demonstrated that HuR binds to the mRNAs encoding the Th2 transcription factor trans-acting T-cell-specific transcription factor (GATA-3) and Th2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, thereby regulating their expression. By using a novel conditional HuR knockout (KO) mouse in which HuR is deleted in activated T cells, we show that Th2-polarized cells from heterozygous HuR conditional (OX40-Cre HuR(fl/+)) KO mice had decreased steady-state levels of Gata3, Il4 and Il13 mRNAs with little changes at the protein level. Surprisingly, Th2-polarized cells from homozygous HuR conditional (OX40-Cre HuR(fl/fl)) KO mice showed increased Il2, Il4 and Il13 mRNA and protein via different mechanisms. Specifically, Il4 was transcriptionally upregulated in HuR KO T cells, whereas Il2 and Il13 mRNA stabilities increased. Additionally, when using the standard ovalbumin model of allergic airway inflammation, HuR conditional KO mice mounted a robust inflammatory response similar to mice with wild-type HuR levels. These results reveal a complex differential posttranscriptional regulation of cytokines by HuR in which gene dosage plays an important role. These findings may have significant implications in allergies and asthma, as well as autoimmune diseases and infection.
The 5' and the 3' untranslated regions (UTR) of the insulin genes are very well conserved across species. Although microRNAs (miRNAs) are known to regulate insulin secretion process, direct regulation of insulin biosynthesis by miRNA has not been reported. Here, we show that mouse microRNA miR-196b can specifically target the 5'UTR of the long insulin2 splice isoform. Using reporter assays we show that miR-196b specifically increases the translation of the reporter protein luciferase. We further show that this translation activation is abolished when Argonaute 2 levels are knocked down after transfection with an Argonaute 2-directed siRNA. Binding of miR-196b to the target sequence in insulin 5'UTR causes the removal of HuD (a 5'UTR-associated translation inhibitor), suggesting that both miR-196b and HuD bind to the same RNA element. We present data suggesting that the RNA-binding protein HuD, which represses insulin translation, is displaced by miR-196b. Together, our findings identify a mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation of insulin biosynthesis.
Tight regulation of autophagy is critical for the fate of pancreatic ? cells. The autophagy protein ATG5 is essential for the formation of autophagosomes by promoting the lipidation of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3). However, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate ATG5 expression levels. In this study, we investigated the regulation of ATG5 expression by HuD. The association of HuD with ATG5 mRNA was analyzed by RNP-IP and biotin-pull down assays. HuD expression levels in pancreatic ? cells were knock-downed via siRNA, elevated by overexpression of a HuD-expressing plasmid. The expression levels of HuD, ATG5, LC3 and ?-actin were determined by Western blot and RT-qPCR analysis. Autophagosome formation was assessed by fluorescence microscopy in GFP-LC3-expressing cells and in pancreatic tissues from wild-type (WT) and HuD-null mice. We identified ATG5 mRNA as a post-transcriptional target of the mammalian RNA-binding protein HuD in pancreatic ? cells. HuD associated with the 3untranslated region (UTR) of the ATG5 mRNA. Modulating HuD abundance did not alter ATG5 mRNA levels, but HuD silencing decreased ATG5 mRNA translation, and, conversely, HuD overexpression enhanced ATG5 mRNA translation. Through its effect on ATG5, HuD contributed to the lipidation of LC3 and the formation of LC3-positive autophagosomes. In keeping with this regulatory paradigm, HuD-null mice displayed lower ATG5 and LC3 levels in pancreatic ? cells. Our results reveal HuD to be an inducer of ATG5 expression and hence a critical regulator of autophagosome formation in pancreatic ? cells.
The p66Shc adaptor protein is an important regulator of life span in mammals, but the mechanisms responsible remain unclear. Here we show that expression of p66Shc, p52Shc, and p46Shc is regulated at the post-transcriptional level by the microRNA let-7a. The levels of let-7a correlated inversely with the levels of Shc proteins without affecting Shc mRNA levels. We identified seedless let-7a interaction elements in the coding region (CR) of Shc mRNA; mutation of the seedless interaction sites abolished the regulation of Shc by let-7a. Our results further revealed that repression of Shc expression by let-7a delays senescence of human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs). In sum, our findings link let-7a abundance to the expression of p66Shc, which in turn controls the replicative life span of HDFs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
In response to stress conditions, many mammalian mRNAs accumulate in stress granules (SGs) together with numerous RNA-binding proteins that control mRNA turnover and translation. However, the signaling cascades that modulate the presence of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes in SGs are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the localization of human antigen R (HuR), an mRNA-stabilizing RNA-binding protein, in SGs following exposure to the stress agent arsenite. Unexpectedly, the mobilization of HuR to SGs was prevented through the activation of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) by the vitamin K3 analog menadione. JAK3 phosphorylated HuR at tyrosine 200, in turn inhibiting HuR localization in SGs, reducing HuR interaction with targets SIRT1 and VHL mRNAs, and accelerating target mRNA decay. Our findings indicate that HuR is tyrosine-phosphorylated by JAK3, and link this modification to HuR subcytoplasmic localization and to the fate of HuR target mRNAs.
The levels of microRNAs (miRNAs) are altered under different conditions such as cancer, senescence, and aging. Here, we have identified differentially expressed miRNAs in skeletal muscle from young and old rhesus monkeys using RNA sequencing. In old muscle, several miRNAs were upregulated, including miR-451, miR-144, miR-18a and miR-15a, while a few miRNAs were downregulated, including miR-181a and miR-181b. A number of novel miRNAs were also identified, particularly in old muscle. We also examined the impact of caloric restriction (CR) on miRNA abundance by reverse transcription (RT) followed by real-time, quantitative (q)PCR analysis and found that CR rescued the levels of miR-181b and chr1:205580546, and also dampened the age-induced increase in miR-451 and miR-144 levels. Our results reveal that there are changes in expression of known and novel miRNAs with skeletal muscle aging and that CR may reverse some of these changes to a younger phenotype.
The epithelium of the intestinal mucosa is a rapidly self-renewing tissue in the body, and defects in the renewal process occur commonly in various disorders. microRNAs (miRNAs) posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression and are implicated in many aspects of cellular physiology. Here we investigate the role of miRNA-29b (miR-29b) in the regulation of normal intestinal mucosal growth and further validate its target mRNAs. miRNA expression profiling studies reveal that growth inhibition of the small intestinal mucosa is associated with increased expression of numerous miRNAs, including miR-29b. The simple systemic delivery of locked nucleic acid-modified, anti-miR-29b-reduced endogenous miR-29b levels in the small intestinal mucosa increases cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) expression and stimulates mucosal growth. In contrast, overexpression of the miR-29b precursor in intestinal epithelial cells represses CDK2 expression and results in growth arrest in G1 phase. miR-29b represses CDK2 translation through direct interaction with the cdk2 mRNA via its 3-untranslated region (3-UTR), whereas point mutation of miR-29b binding site in the cdk2 3-UTR prevents miR-29b-induced repression of CDK2 translation. These results indicate that miR-29b inhibits intestinal mucosal growth by repressing CDK2 translation.
Stromal interaction molecule 1 (Stim1) functions as a sensor of Ca2+ within stores and plays an essential role in the activation of store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE). Although lowering Stim1 levels reduces store-operated Ca2+ entry and inhibits intestinal epithelial repair after wounding, the mechanisms that control Stim1 expression remain unknown. Here, we show that cellular Stim1 abundance is controlled posttranscriptionally via factors that associate with 3-untranslated region (3-UTR) of stim1 mRNA. MicroRNA-195 (miR-195) and the RNA-binding protein HuR competed for association with the stim1 3-UTR and regulated stim1 mRNA decay in opposite directions. Interaction of miR-195 with the stim1 3-UTR destabilized stim1 mRNA, whereas the stability of stim1 mRNA increased with HuR association. Interestingly, ectopic miR-195 overexpression enhanced stim1 mRNA association with argonaute-containing complexes and increased the colocalization of tagged stim1 RNA with processing bodies (P-bodies); the translocation of stim1 mRNA was abolished by HuR overexpression. Moreover, decreased levels of Stim1 by miR-195 overexpression inhibited cell migration over the denuded area after wounding but was rescued by increasing HuR levels. In sum, Stim1 expression is controlled by two factors competing for influence on stim1 mRNA stability: the mRNA-stabilizing protein HuR and the decay-promoting miR-195.
Noncoding RNAs include small transcripts, such as microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs, and a wide range of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although many lncRNAs have been identified, only a small number of lncRNAs have been characterized functionally. Here, we sought to identify lncRNAs differentially expressed during replicative senescence. We compared lncRNAs expressed in proliferating, early-passage, young human diploid WI-38 fibroblasts [population doubling (PDL) 20] with those expressed in senescent, late-passage, old fibroblasts (PDL 52) by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Numerous transcripts in all lncRNA groups (antisense lncRNAs, pseudogene-encoded lncRNAs, previously described lncRNAs and novel lncRNAs) were validated using reverse transcription (RT) and real-time, quantitative (q)PCR. Among the novel senescence-associated lncRNAs (SAL-RNAs) showing lower abundance in senescent cells, SAL-RNA1 (XLOC_023166) was found to delay senescence, because reducing SAL-RNA1 levels enhanced the appearance of phenotypic traits of senescence, including an enlarged morphology, positive ?-galactosidase activity, and heightened p53 levels. Our results reveal that the expression of known and novel lncRNAs changes with senescence and suggests that SAL-RNAs play direct regulatory roles in this important cellular process.
Metabolic diseases are characterized by the failure of regulatory genes or proteins to effectively orchestrate specific pathways involved in the control of many biological processes. In addition to the classical regulators, recent discoveries have shown the remarkable role of small noncoding RNAs (microRNAs [miRNAs]) in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. In this regard, we have recently demonstrated that miR-33a and miR33b, intronic miRNAs located within the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) genes, regulate lipid metabolism in concert with their host genes. Here, we show that miR-33b also cooperates with SREBP1 in regulating glucose metabolism by targeting phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC), key regulatory enzymes of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Overexpression of miR-33b in human hepatic cells inhibits PCK1 and G6PC expression, leading to a significant reduction of glucose production. Importantly, hepatic SREBP1c/miR-33b levels correlate inversely with the expression of PCK1 and G6PC upon glucose infusion in rhesus monkeys. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-33b works in concert with its host gene to ensure a fine-tuned regulation of lipid and glucose homeostasis, highlighting the clinical potential of miR-33a/b as novel therapeutic targets for a range of metabolic diseases.
The co-activator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) catalyzes the methylation of HuR. However, the functional impact of this modification is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the influence of HuR methylation by CARM1 upon the turnover of HuR target mRNAs encoding senescence-regulatory proteins.
The RNA-binding protein TIAR is an mRNA-binding protein that acts as a translational repressor, particularly important under conditions of cellular stress. It binds to target mRNA and DNA via its RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains and is involved in both splicing regulation and translational repression via the formation of "stress granules." TIAR has also been shown to bind ssDNA and play a role in the regulation of transcription. Here we show, using surface plasmon resonance and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, specific roles of individual TIAR domains for high-affinity binding to RNA and DNA targets. We confirm that RRM2 of TIAR is the major RNA- and DNA-binding domain. However, the strong nanomolar affinity binding to U-rich RNA and T-rich DNA depends on the presence of the six amino acid residues found in the linker region C-terminal to RRM2. On its own, RRM1 shows preferred binding to DNA over RNA. We further characterize the interaction between RRM2 with the C-terminal extension and an AU-rich target RNA sequence using NMR spectroscopy to identify the amino acid residues involved in binding. We demonstrate that TIAR RRM2, together with its C-terminal extension, is the major contributor for the high-affinity (nM) interactions of TIAR with target RNA sequences.
Although mammalian long non-coding (lnc)RNAs are best known for modulating transcription, their post-transcriptional influence on mRNA splicing, stability and translation is emerging. Here we report a post-translational function for the lncRNA HOTAIR as an inducer of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. HOTAIR associates with E3 ubiquitin ligases bearing RNA-binding domains, Dzip3 and Mex3b, as well as with their respective ubiquitination substrates, Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1. In this manner, HOTAIR facilitates the ubiquitination of Ataxin-1 by Dzip3 and Snurportin-1 by Mex3b in cells and in vitro, and accelerates their degradation. HOTAIR levels are highly upregulated in senescent cells, causing rapid decay of targets Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1, and preventing premature senescence. These results uncover a role for a lncRNA, HOTAIR, as a platform for protein ubiquitination.
Inflammation is a common component of acute injuries of the central nervous system (CNS) such as ischemia, and degenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease. Glial cells play important roles in local CNS inflammation, and an understanding of the roles for microRNAs in glial reactivity in injury and disease settings may therefore lead to the development of novel therapeutic interventions. Here, we show that the miR-181 family is developmentally regulated and present in high amounts in astrocytes compared to neurons. Overexpression of miR-181c in cultured astrocytes results in increased cell death when exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We show that miR-181 expression is altered by exposure to LPS, a model of inflammation, in both wild-type and transgenic mice lacking both receptors for the inflammatory cytokine TNF-?. Knockdown of miR-181 enhanced LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-?, IL-6, IL-1?, IL-8) and HMGB1, while overexpression of miR-181 resulted in a significant increase in the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. To assess the effects of miR-181 on the astrocyte transcriptome, we performed gene array and pathway analysis on astrocytes with reduced levels of miR-181b/c. To examine the pool of potential miR-181 targets, we employed a biotin pull-down of miR-181c and gene array analysis. We validated the mRNAs encoding MeCP2 and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis as targets of miR-181. These findings suggest that miR-181 plays important roles in the molecular responses of astrocytes in inflammatory settings. Further understanding of the role of miR-181 in inflammatory events and CNS injury could lead to novel approaches for the treatment of CNS disorders with an inflammatory component.
The long noncoding MALAT1 RNA is upregulated in cancer tissues and its elevated expression is associated with hyper-proliferation, but the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. We demonstrate that MALAT1 levels are regulated during normal cell cycle progression. Genome-wide transcriptome analyses in normal human diploid fibroblasts reveal that MALAT1 modulates the expression of cell cycle genes and is required for G1/S and mitotic progression. Depletion of MALAT1 leads to activation of p53 and its target genes. The cell cycle defects observed in MALAT1-depleted cells are sensitive to p53 levels, indicating that p53 is a major downstream mediator of MALAT1 activity. Furthermore, MALAT1-depleted cells display reduced expression of B-MYB (Mybl2), an oncogenic transcription factor involved in G2/M progression, due to altered binding of splicing factors on B-MYB pre-mRNA and aberrant alternative splicing. In human cells, MALAT1 promotes cellular proliferation by modulating the expression and/or pre-mRNA processing of cell cycle-regulated transcription factors. These findings provide mechanistic insights on the role of MALAT1 in regulating cellular proliferation.
Topoisomerases are crucial for solving DNA topological problems, but they have not been linked to RNA metabolism. Here we show that human topoisomerase 3? (Top3?) is an RNA topoisomerase that biochemically and genetically interacts with FMRP, a protein that is deficient in fragile X syndrome and is known to regulate the translation of mRNAs that are important for neuronal function, abnormalities of which are linked to autism. Notably, the FMRP-Top3? interaction is abolished by a disease-associated mutation of FMRP, suggesting that Top3? may contribute to the pathogenesis of mental disorders. Top3? binds multiple mRNAs encoded by genes with neuronal functions linked to schizophrenia and autism. Expression of one such gene, that encoding protein tyrosine kinase 2 (ptk2, also known as focal adhesion kinase or FAK), is reduced in the neuromuscular junctions of Top3? mutant flies. Synapse formation is defective in Top3? mutant flies and mice, as well as in FMRP mutant flies and mice. Our findings suggest that Top3? acts as an RNA topoisomerase and works with FMRP to promote the expression of mRNAs that are crucial for neurodevelopment and mental health.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potent post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. In mammalian cells, miRNAs typically suppress mRNA stability and/or translation through partial complementarity with target mRNAs. Each miRNA can regulate a wide range of mRNAs, and a single mRNA can be regulated by multiple miRNAs. Through these complex regulatory interactions, miRNAs participate in many cellular processes, including carcinogenesis. By altering gene expression patterns, cancer cells can develop specific phenotypes that allow them to proliferate, survive, secure oxygen and nutrients, evade immune recognition, invade other tissues and metastasize. At the same time, cancer cells acquire miRNA signature patterns distinct from those of normal cells; the differentially expressed miRNAs contribute to enabling the cancer traits. Over the past decade, several miRNAs have been identified, which functioned as oncogenic miRNAs (oncomiRs) or tumor-suppressive miRNAs (TS-miRNAs). In this review, we focus specifically on TS-miRNAs and their effects on well-established cancer traits. We also discuss the rising interest in TS-miRNAs in cancer therapy.
Several members of the let-7 microRNA family are downregulated in ovarian and other cancers. They are thought to act as tumor suppressors by lowering growth-promoting and anti-apoptotic proteins. In order to measure cellular let-7 levels systematically, we have developed a highly sensitive let-7 reporter assay system based on the expression of a chimeric mRNA that contains the luciferase coding region and a 3-untranslated region (UTR) bearing two let-7-binding sites. In cells expressing the reporter construct, termed pmirGLO-let7, luciferase activity was high when let-7 was absent, while luciferase activity was low when let-7 levels were elevated. The ovarian cancer cell lines BG-1 and UCI-101 were transfected with the let-7 reporter and surveyed with a library of kinase inhibitors in order to identify pathways affecting let-7 activity. Among the inhibitors causing changes in endogenous let-7 abundance, the lowering of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3)? function specifically increased let-7 levels and lowered luciferase activity. Similarly, silencing GSK-3? increased both mature and primary-let-7 levels in BG-1 cells, and decreased BG-1 cell survival. Further studies identified p53 as a downstream effector of the GSK-3?-mediated repression of let-7 biosynthesis. Our studies highlight GSK-3? as a novel therapeutic target in ovarian tumorigenesis.
microRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) jointly regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level and are involved in many aspects of cellular functions. The RBP CUG-binding protein 1 (CUGBP1) destabilizes and represses the translation of several target mRNAs, but the exact mechanism that regulates CUGBP1 abundance remains elusive. In this paper, we show that miR-503, computationally predicted to associate with three sites of the CUGBP1 mRNA, represses CUGBP1 expression. Overexpression of an miR-503 precursor (pre-miR-503) reduced the de novo synthesis of CUGBP1 protein, whereas inhibiting miR-503 by using an antisense RNA (antagomir) enhanced CUGBP1 biosynthesis and elevated its abundance; neither intervention changed total CUGBP1 mRNA levels. Studies using heterologous reporter constructs revealed a greater repressive effect of miR-503 through the CUGBP1 coding region sites than through the single CUGBP1 3-untranslated region target site. CUGBP1 mRNA levels in processing bodies (P-bodies) increased in cells transfected with pre-miR-503, while silencing P-body resident proteins Ago2, RCK, or LSm4 decreased miR-503-mediated repression of CUGBP1 expression. Decreasing the levels of cellular polyamines reduced endogenous miR-503 levels and promoted CUGBP1 expression, an effect that was prevented by ectopic miR-503 overexpression. Repression of CUGBP1 by miR-503 in turn altered the expression of CUGBP1 target mRNAs and thus increased the sensitivity of intestinal epithelial cells to apoptosis. These findings identify miR-503 as both a novel regulator of CUGBP1 expression and a modulator of intestinal epithelial homoeostasis.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a proinflammatory cytokine that exerts a wide range of cellular, physiological, and pathophysiological responses. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) antagonizes the cellular responsiveness to IL-6 through impairment in signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 activation and downstream signaling. To further elucidate the biological properties of PDTC, global gene expression profiling of human HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells was carried out after treatment with PDTC or IL-6 for up to 8 h. Through an unbiased pathway analysis method, gene array analysis showed dramatic and temporal differences in expression changes in response to PDTC versus IL-6. A significant number of genes associated with metabolic pathways, inflammation, translation, and mitochondrial function were changed, with ribosomal protein genes and DNA damage-inducible transcript 4 protein (DDIT4) primarily up-regulated with PDTC but down-regulated with IL-6. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analyses validated the microarray data and showed the reciprocal expression pattern of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-negative regulator DDIT4 in response to PDTC versus IL-6. Cell treatment with PDTC resulted in a rapid and sustained activation of Akt and subsequently blocked the IL-6-mediated increase in mTOR complex 1 function through up-regulation in DDIT4 expression. Conversely, down-regulation of DDIT4 with small interfering RNA dampened the capacity of PDTC to block IL-6-dependent mTOR activation. The overall protein biosynthetic capacity of the cells was severely blunted by IL-6 but increased in a rapamycin-independent pathway by PDTC. These results demonstrate a critical effect of PDTC on mTOR complex 1 function and provide evidence that PDTC can reverse IL-6-related signaling via induction of DDIT4.
The RNA-binding protein (RBP) nucleolin promotes the expression of several proliferative proteins. Nucleolin levels are high in cancer cells, but the mechanisms that control nucleolin expression are unknown. Here, we show that nucleolin abundance is controlled posttranscriptionally via factors that associate with its 3 untranslated region (3UTR). The RBP HuR was found to interact with the nucleolin (NCL) 3UTR and specifically promoted nucleolin translation without affecting nucleolin mRNA levels. In human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells, analysis of a traceable NCL 3UTR bearing MS2 RNA hairpins revealed that NCL RNA was mobilized to processing bodies (PBs) after silencing HuR, suggesting that the repression of nucleolin translation may occur in PBs. Immunoprecipitation of MS2-tagged NCL 3UTR was used to screen for endogenous repressors of nucleolin synthesis. This search identified miR-494 as a microRNA that potently inhibited nucleolin expression, enhanced NCL mRNA association with argonaute-containing complexes, and induced NCL RNA transport to PBs. Importantly, miR-494 and HuR functionally competed for modulation of nucleolin expression. Moreover, the promotion of cell growth previously attributed to HuR was due in part to the HuR-elicited increase in nucleolin expression. Our collective findings indicate that nucleolin expression is positively regulated by HuR and negatively regulated via competition with miR-494.
The RNA-binding protein HuR, while known to stabilize cytoplasmic mRNAs, is largely nuclear. In this issue of Molecular Cell, Mukherjee et al. (2011) and Lebedeva et al. (2011) identify transcriptome-wide HuR-RNA interactions using PAR-CLIP, unveiling HuRs nuclear role in pre-mRNA processing.
Comment on: Jiang et al. Gene expression profiling suggests a pathological role of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in aging-related skeletal diseases. Aging 2011; this issue. In this issue of Impact Aging, Jiang et al. report key differences in the patterns of expressed mRNAs in bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells (bmMSCs) of young donors compared with old human donors.
Sirt1 is an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase that extends lifespan in lower organisms and improves metabolism and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here we show that SRT1720, a synthetic compound that was identified for its ability to activate Sirt1 in vitro, extends both mean and maximum lifespan of adult mice fed a high-fat diet. This lifespan extension is accompanied by health benefits including reduced liver steatosis, increased insulin sensitivity, enhanced locomotor activity and normalization of gene expression profiles and markers of inflammation and apoptosis, all in the absence of any observable toxicity. Using a conditional SIRT1 knockout mouse and specific gene knockdowns we show SRT1720 affects mitochondrial respiration in a Sirt1- and PGC-1?-dependent manner. These findings indicate that SRT1720 has long-term benefits and demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals.
The cellular abundance of topoisomerase II? (TOP2A) critically maintains DNA topology after replication and determines the efficacy of TOP2 inhibitors in chemotherapy. Here, we report that the RNA-binding protein HuR, commonly overexpressed in cancers, binds to the TOP2A 3-untranslated region (3UTR) and increases TOP2A translation. Reducing HuR levels triggered the recruitment of TOP2A transcripts to RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) components and to cytoplasmic processing bodies. Using a novel MS2-tagged RNA precipitation method, we identified microRNA miR-548c-3p as a mediator of these effects and further uncovered that the interaction of miR-548c-3p with the TOP2A 3UTR repressed TOP2A translation by antagonizing the action of HuR. Lowering TOP2A by silencing HuR or by overexpressing miR-548c-3p selectively decreased DNA damage after treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. In sum, HuR enhances TOP2A translation by competing with miR-548c-3p; their combined actions control TOP2A expression levels and determine the effectiveness of doxorubicin.
Occludin is a transmembrane tight junction (TJ) protein that plays an important role in TJ assembly and regulation of the epithelial barrier function, but the mechanisms underlying its post-transcriptional regulation are unknown. The RNA-binding protein HuR modulates the stability and translation of many target mRNAs. Here, we investigated the role of HuR in the regulation of occludin expression and therefore in the intestinal epithelial barrier function. HuR bound the 3-untranslated region of the occludin mRNA and enhanced occludin translation. HuR association with the occludin mRNA depended on Chk2-dependent HuR phosphorylation. Reduced HuR phosphorylation by Chk2 silencing or by reduction of Chk2 through polyamine depletion decreased HuR-binding to the occludin mRNA and repressed occludin translation, whereas Chk2 overexpression enhanced (HuR/occludin mRNA) association and stimulated occludin expression. In mice exposed to septic stress induced by cecal ligation and puncture, Chk2 levels in the intestinal mucosa decreased, associated with an inhibition of occludin expression and gut barrier dysfunction. These results indicate that HuR regulates occludin mRNA translation through Chk2-dependent HuR phosphorylation and that this influence is crucial for maintenance of the epithelial barrier integrity in the intestinal tract.
The amino acid-derived polyamines are organic cations that are essential for growth in all mammalian cells, but their exact roles at the molecular level remain largely unknown. Here we provide evidence that polyamines promote the translation of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) by the action of CUG-binding protein 1 (CUGBP1) and microRNA-222 (miR-222) in intestinal epithelial cells. Both CUGBP1 and miR-222 were found to bind the CDK4 mRNA coding region and 3-untranslated region and repressed CDK4 translation synergistically. Depletion of cellular polyamines increased cytoplasmic CUGBP1 abundance and miR-222 levels, induced their associations with the CDK4 mRNA, and inhibited CDK4 translation, whereas increasing the levels of cellular polyamines decreased CDK4 mRNA interaction with CUGBP1 and miR-222, in turn inducing CDK4 expression. Polyamine-deficient cells exhibited an increased colocalization of tagged CDK4 mRNA with processing bodies; this colocalization was abolished by silencing CUGBP1 and miR-222. Together, our findings indicate that polyamine-regulated CUGBP1 and miR-222 modulate CDK4 translation at least in part by altering the recruitment of CDK4 mRNA to processing bodies.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate gene expression at many post-transcriptional levels, including mRNA stability and translation. The RBP nucleolin, with four RNA-recognition motifs, has been implicated in cell proliferation, carcinogenesis and viral infection. However, the subset of nucleolin target mRNAs and the influence of nucleolin on their expression had not been studied at a transcriptome-wide level. Here, we globally identified nucleolin target transcripts, many of which encoded cell growth- and cancer-related proteins, and used them to find a signature motif on nucleolin target mRNAs. Surprisingly, this motif was very rich in G residues and was not only found in the 3-untranslated region (UTR), but also in the coding region (CR) and 5-UTR. Nucleolin enhanced the translation of mRNAs bearing the G-rich motif, since silencing nucleolin did not change target mRNA stability, but decreased the size of polysomes forming on target transcripts and lowered the abundance of the encoded proteins. In summary, nucleolin binds G-rich sequences in the CR and UTRs of target mRNAs, many of which encode cancer proteins, and enhances their translation.
Mammalian gene expression patterns change profoundly in response to low oxygen levels. These changes in gene expression programs are strongly influenced by post-transcriptional mechanisms mediated by mRNA-binding factors: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and microRNAs (miRNAs). Here, we review the RBPs and miRNAs that modulate mRNA turnover and translation in response to hypoxic challenge. RBPs such as HuR (human antigen R), PTB (polypyrimidine tract-binding protein), heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), tristetraprolin, nucleolin, iron-response element-binding proteins (IRPs), and cytoplasmic polyadenylation-element-binding proteins (CPEBs), selectively bind to numerous hypoxia-regulated transcripts and play a major role in establishing hypoxic gene expression patterns. MiRNAs including miR-210, miR-373, and miR-21 associate with hypoxia-regulated transcripts and further modulate the levels of the encoded proteins to implement the hypoxic gene expression profile. We discuss the potent regulation of hypoxic gene expression by RBPs and miRNAs and their integrated actions in the cellular hypoxic response.
In mammalian cells, microRNAs regulate the expression of target mRNAs generally by reducing their stability and/or translation, and thereby control diverse cellular processes such as senescence. We recently reported the differential abundance of microRNAs in young (early-passage, proliferating) relative to senescent (late-passage, non-proliferating) WI-38 human diploid fibroblasts. Here we report that the levels of the vast majority of mRNAs were unaltered in senescent compared to young WI-38 cells, while overall mRNA translation was potently reduced in senescent cells. Downregulation of Dicer or Drosha, two major enzymes in microRNA biogenesis, lowered microRNA levels, but, unexpectedly, it also reduced global translation. While a reduction in Dicer levels markedly enhanced cellular senescence, reduction of Drosha levels did not, suggesting that the Drosha/Dicer effects on translation may be independent of senescence, and further suggesting that microRNAs may directly or indirectly enhance mRNA translation in WI-38 cells. We discuss possible scenarios through which Dicer/Drosha/microRNAs could enhance translation.
HuR is a ubiquitously expressed RNA-binding protein that modulates gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. It is predominantly nuclear, but can shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. While in the cytoplasm HuR can stabilize its target transcripts, many of which encode proteins involved in carcinogenesis. While cytoplasmic HuR expression is a marker of reduced survival in breast cancer, its role in precursor lesions of malignant diseases is unclear. To address this we explored HuR expression in atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) and in ductal in situ carcinomas (DCIS). We show that cytoplasmic HuR expression is elevated in both ADH and DCIS when compared to normal controls, and that this expression associated with high grade, progesterone receptor negativity and microinvasion and/or tumour-positive sentinel nodes of the DCIS. To study the mechanisms of HuR in breast carcinogenesis, HuR expression was silenced in an immortalized breast epithelial cell line (184B5Me), which led to reduction in anchorage-independent growth, increased programmed cell death and inhibition of invasion. In addition, we identified two novel target transcripts (CTGF and RAB31) that are regulated by HuR and that bind HuR protein in this cell line. Our results show that HuR is aberrantly expressed at early stages of breast carcinogenesis and that its inhibition can lead to suppression of this process. ArrayExpress Accession No. E-MEXP-3035.
Cellular senescence was first reported five decades ago as a state of long-term growth inhibition in viable, metabolically active cells cultured in vitro. However, evidence that senescence occurs in vivo and underlies pathophysiologic processes has only emerged over the past few years. Coincident with this increased knowledge, understanding of the mechanisms that control senescent-cell gene expression programs has also recently escalated. Such mechanisms include a prominent group of regulatory factors (miRNA), a family of small, noncoding RNAs that interact with select target mRNAs and typically repress their expression. Here, we review recent reports that miRNAs are key modulators of cellular senescence, and we examine their influence upon specific senescence-regulatory proteins. We discuss evidence that dysregulation of miRNA-governed senescence programs underlies age-associated diseases, including cancer.
Ionizing radiation (IR) triggers adaptive changes in gene expression. Here, we show that survival after IR strongly depends on the checkpoint kinase Chk2 acting upon its substrate HuR, an RNA-binding protein that stabilizes and/or modulates the translation of target mRNAs. Microarray analysis showed that in human HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells (WT), IR-activated Chk2 triggered the dissociation of virtually all of HuR-bound mRNAs, since IR did not dissociate HuR target mRNAs in Chk2-null (CHK2-/-) HCT116 cells. Accordingly, several HuR-interacting mRNAs encoding apoptosis- and proliferation-related proteins (TJP1, Mdm2, TP53BP2, Bax, K-Ras) dissociated from HuR in WT cells, but remained bound and showed altered post-transcriptional regulation in CHK2-/- cells. Use of HuR mutants that were not phosphorylatable by Chk2 (HuR(3A)) and HuR mutants mimicking constitutive phosphorylation by Chk2 (HuR(3D)) revealed that dissociation of HuR target transcripts enhanced cell survival. We propose that the release of HuR-bound mRNAs via an IR-Chk2-HuR regulatory axis improves cell outcome following IR.
TIAR and HuR are mRNA-binding proteins that play important roles in the regulation of translation. They both possess three RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) and bind to AU-rich elements (AREs), with seemingly overlapping specificity. Here we show using SPR that TIAR and HuR bind to both U-rich and AU-rich RNA in the nanomolar range, with higher overall affinity for U-rich RNA. However, the higher affinity for U-rich sequences is mainly due to faster association with U-rich RNA, which we propose is a reflection of the higher probability of association. Differences between TIAR and HuR are observed in their modes of binding to RNA. TIAR is able to bind deoxy-oligonucleotides with nanomolar affinity, whereas HuR affinity is reduced to a micromolar level. Studies with U-rich DNA reveal that TIAR binding depends less on the 2-hydroxyl group of RNA than HuR binding. Finally we show that SAXS data, recorded for the first two domains of TIAR in complex with RNA, are more consistent with a flexible, elongated shape and not the compact shape that the first two domains of Hu proteins adopt upon binding to RNA. We thus propose that these triple-RRM proteins, which compete for the same binding sites in cells, interact with their targets in fundamentally different ways.
HuR is a regulator of mRNA turnover or translation of inflammatory genes through binding to adenylate-uridylate-rich elements and related motifs present in the 3untranslated region (UTR) of mRNAs. We postulate that HuR critically regulates the epithelial response by associating with multiple ARE-bearing, functionally related inflammatory transcripts. We aimed to identify HuR targets in the human airway epithelial cell line BEAS-2B challenged with TNF-? plus IFN-?, a strong stimulus for inflammatory epithelial responses. Ribonucleoprotein complexes from resting and cytokine-treated cells were immunoprecipitated using anti-HuR and isotype-control Ab, and eluted mRNAs were reverse-transcribed and hybridized to an inflammatory-focused gene array. The chemokines CCL2, CCL8, CXCL1, and CXCL2 ranked highest among 27 signaling and inflammatory genes significantly enriched in the HuR RNP-IP from stimulated cells over the control immunoprecipitation. Among these, 20 displayed published HuR binding motifs. Association of HuR with the four endogenous chemokine mRNAs was validated by single-gene ribonucleoprotein-immunoprecipitation and shown to be 3UTR-dependent by biotin pull-down assay. Cytokine treatment increased mRNA stability only for CCL2 and CCL8, and transient silencing and overexpression of HuR affected only CCL2 and CCL8 expression in primary and transformed epithelial cells. Cytokine-induced CCL2 mRNA was predominantly cytoplasmic. Conversely, CXCL1 mRNA remained mostly nuclear and unaffected, as CXCL2, by changes in HuR levels. Increase in cytoplasmic HuR and HuR target expression partially relied on the inhibition of AMP-dependent kinase, a negative regulator of HuR nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. HuR-mediated regulation in airway epithelium appears broader than previously appreciated, coordinating numerous inflammatory genes through multiple posttranscriptional mechanisms.
Maintenance of genomic stability depends on the DNA damage response, a biologic barrier in early stages of cancer development. Failure of this response results in genomic instability and high predisposition toward lymphoma, as seen in patients with ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) dysfunction. ATM activates multiple cell-cycle checkpoints and DNA repair after DNA damage, but its influence on posttranscriptional gene expression has not been examined on a global level. We show that ionizing radiation modulates the dynamic association of the RNA-binding protein HuR with target mRNAs in an ATM-dependent manner, potentially coordinating the genotoxic response as an RNA operon. Pharmacologic ATM inhibition and use of ATM-null cells revealed a critical role for ATM in this process. Numerous mRNAs encoding cancer-related proteins were differentially associated with HuR depending on the functional state of ATM, in turn affecting expression of encoded proteins. The findings presented here reveal a previously unidentified role of ATM in controlling gene expression posttranscriptionally. Dysregulation of this DNA damage response RNA operon is probably relevant to lymphoma development in ataxia-telangiectasia persons. These novel RNA regulatory modules and genetic networks provide critical insight into the function of ATM in oncogenesis.
The control of mammalian mRNA turnover and translation has been linked almost exclusively to specific cis-elements within the 5- and 3-untranslated regions (UTRs) of the mature mRNA. However, instances of regulated turnover and translation via cis-elements within the coding region (CR) of mRNAs are accumulating. Here, we describe the regulation of post-transcriptional fate through trans-binding factors (RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs) that function via CR sequences. We discuss how the CR enriches the post-transcriptional control of gene expression, and predict that new high-throughput technologies will enable a more mainstream study of CR-governed gene regulation.
Posttranscriptional regulation is emerging as a key factor in glucocorticoid (GC)-mediated gene regulation. We investigated the role of the human GC receptor (GR) as an RNA-binding protein and its effect on mRNA turnover in human airway epithelial cells. Cell treatment with the potent GC budesonide accelerated the decay of CCL2 mRNA (t(1/2) = 8 ± 1 min versus 62 ± 17 min in DMSO-treated cells) and CCL7 mRNA (t(1/2) = 15 ± 4 min versus 114 ± 37 min), but not that of CCL5 mRNA (t(1/2)=231 ± 8 min versus 266 ± 5 min) in the BEAS-2B cell line. This effect was inhibited by preincubation with an anti-GR Ab, indicating that GR itself plays a role in the turnover of these transcripts. Coimmunoprecipitation and biotin pulldown experiments showed that GR associates with CCL2 and CCL7 mRNAs, but not CCL5 mRNA. These methods confirmed CCL2 mRNA targeting by GR in human primary airway epithelial cells. Association of the GR was localized to the 5 untranslated region of CCL2 mRNA and further mapped to nt 44-60. The collection of transcripts associated with GR, identified by immunoprecipitation of GR-mRNA complexes followed by microarray analysis, revealed 479 transcripts that associated with GR. Computational analysis of the primary sequence and secondary structures of these transcripts yielded a GC-rich motif, which was shown to bind to GR in vitro. This motif was used to predict binding of GR to an additional 7889 transcripts. These results indicate that cytoplasmic GR interacts with a subset of mRNA through specific sequences and can regulate turnover rates, suggesting a novel posttranscriptional role for GR as an RNA-binding protein.
Adipose tissue development is tightly regulated by altering gene expression. MicroRNAs are strong posttranscriptional regulators of mammalian differentiation. We hypothesized that microRNAs might influence human adipogenesis by targeting specific adipogenic factors. We identified microRNAs that showed varying abundance during the differentiation of human preadipocytes into adipocytes. Among them, miR-130 strongly affected adipocyte differentiation, as overexpressing miR-130 impaired adipogenesis and reducing miR-130 enhanced adipogenesis. A key effector of miR-130 actions was the protein peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?), a major regulator of adipogenesis. Interestingly, miR-130 potently repressed PPAR? expression by targeting both the PPAR? mRNA coding and 3 untranslated regions. Adipose tissue from obese women contained significantly lower miR-130 and higher PPAR? mRNA levels than that from nonobese women. Our findings reveal that miR-130 reduces adipogenesis by repressing PPAR? biosynthesis and suggest that perturbations in this regulation is linked to human obesity.
Polyamines critically regulate all mammalian cell growth and proliferation by mechanisms such as the repression of growth-inhibitory proteins, including JunD. Decreasing the levels of cellular polyamines stabilizes JunD mRNA without affecting its transcription, but the exact mechanism whereby polyamines regulate JunD mRNA degradation has not been elucidated. RNA-binding proteins HuR and AUF1 associate with labile mRNAs bearing AU-rich elements located in the 3 untranslated regions (3-UTRs) and modulate their stability. Here, we show that JunD mRNA is a target of HuR and AUF1 and that polyamines modulate JunD mRNA degradation by altering the competitive binding of HuR and AUF1 to the JunD 3-UTR. The depletion of cellular polyamines enhanced HuR binding to JunD mRNA and decreased the levels of JunD transcript associated with AUF1, thus stabilizing JunD mRNA. The silencing of HuR increased AUF1 binding to the JunD mRNA, decreased the abundance of HuR-JunD mRNA complexes, rendered the JunD mRNA unstable, and prevented increases in JunD mRNA and protein in polyamine-deficient cells. Conversely, increasing the cellular polyamines repressed JunD mRNA interaction with HuR and enhanced its association with AUF1, resulting in an inhibition of JunD expression. These results indicate that polyamines modulate the stability of JunD mRNA in intestinal epithelial cells through HuR and AUF1 and provide new insight into the molecular functions of cellular polyamines.
Expression of BRCA1 is commonly decreased in sporadic breast tumors, and this correlates with poor prognosis of breast cancer patients. Here we show that BRCA1 transcripts are selectively enriched in the Argonaute/miR-182 complex and miR-182 downregulates BRCA1 expression. Antagonizing miR-182 enhances BRCA1 protein levels and protects them from IR-induced cell death, while overexpressing miR-182 reduces BRCA1 protein, impairs homologous recombination-mediated repair, and render cells hypersensitive to IR. The impaired DNA repair phenotype induced by miR-182 overexpression can be fully rescued by overexpressing miR-182-insensitive BRCA1. Consistent with a BRCA1-deficiency phenotype, miR-182-overexpressing breast tumor cells are hypersensitive to inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1). Conversely, antagonizing miR-182 enhances BRCA1 levels and induces resistance to PARP1 inhibitor. Finally, a clinical-grade PARP1 inhibitor impacts outgrowth of miR-182-expressing tumors in animal models. Together these results suggest that miR-182-mediated downregulation of BRCA1 impedes DNA repair and may impact breast cancer therapy.
The expression of protein phosphatase 32 (PP32, ANP32A) is low in poorly differentiated pancreatic cancers and is linked to the levels of HuR (ELAV1), a predictive marker for gemcitabine response. In pancreatic cancer cells, exogenous overexpression of pp32 inhibited cell growth, supporting its long-recognized role as a tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer. In chemotherapeutic sensitivity screening assays, cells overexpressing pp32 were selectively resistant to the nucleoside analogs gemcitabine and cytarabine (ARA-C), but were sensitized to 5-fluorouracil; conversely, silencing pp32 in pancreatic cancer cells enhanced gemcitabine sensitivity. The cytoplasmic levels of pp32 increased after cancer cells are treated with certain stressors, including gemcitabine. pp32 overexpression reduced the association of HuR with the mRNA encoding the gemcitabine-metabolizing enzyme deoxycytidine kinase (dCK), causing a significant reduction in dCK protein levels. Similarly, ectopic pp32 expression caused a reduction in HuR binding of mRNAs encoding tumor-promoting proteins (e.g., VEGF and HuR), while silencing pp32 dramatically enhanced the binding of these mRNA targets. Low pp32 nuclear expression correlated with high-grade tumors and the presence of lymph node metastasis, as compared to patients tumors with high nuclear pp32 expression. Although pp32 expression levels did not enhance the predictive power of cytoplasmic HuR status, nuclear pp32 levels and cytoplasmic HuR levels associated significantly in patient samples. Thus, we provide novel evidence that the tumor suppressor function of pp32 can be attributed to its ability to disrupt HuR binding to target mRNAs encoding key proteins for cancer cell survival and drug efficacy.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that regulate diverse biological processes by controlling the pattern of expressed proteins. In mammalian cells, miRNAs partially complement their target sequences leading to mRNA degradation and/or decreased mRNA translation. Here, we have analyzed transcriptome-wide changes in miRNAs in senescent relative to early-passage WI-38 human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs). Among the miRNAs downregulated with senescence were members of the let-7 family, while upregulated miRNAs included miR-1204, miR-663 and miR-519. miR-519 was recently found to reduce tumor growth at least in part by lowering the abundance of the RNA-binding protein HuR. Overexpression of miR-519a in either WI-38 or human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells triggered senescence, as measured by monitoring beta-galactosidase activity and other senescence markers. These data suggest that miR-519 can suppress tumor growth by triggering senescence and that miR-519 elicits these actions by repressing HuR expression.
Neuronal development and plasticity are maintained by tightly regulated gene expression programs. Here, we report that the developmentally regulated microRNA miR-375 affects dendrite formation and maintenance. miR-375 overexpression in mouse hippocampus potently reduced dendrite density. We identified the predominantly neuronal RNA-binding protein HuD as a key effector of miR-375 influence on dendrite maintenance. Heterologous reporter analysis verified that miR-375 repressed HuD expression through a specific, evolutionarily conserved site on the HuD 3 untranslated region. miR-375 overexpression lowered both HuD mRNA stability and translation and recapitulated the effects of HuD silencing, which reduced the levels of target proteins with key functions in neuronal signaling and cytoskeleton organization (N-cadherin, PSD-95, RhoA, NCAM1, and integrin alpha1). Moreover, the increase in neurite outgrowth after brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) treatment was diminished by miR-375 overexpression; this effect was rescued by reexpression of miR-375-refractory HuD. Our findings indicate that miR-375 modulates neuronal HuD expression and function, in turn affecting dendrite abundance.
In this study, we show that HuR destabilizes p16(INK4) mRNA. Although the knockdown of HuR or AUF1 increased p16 expression, concomitant AUF1 and HuR knockdown had a much weaker effect. The knockdown of Ago2, a component of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), stabilized p16 mRNA. The knockdown of HuR diminished the association of the p16 3 untranslated region (3UTR) with AUF1 and vice versa. While the knockdown of HuR or AUF1 reduced the association of Ago2 with the p16 3UTR, Ago2 knockdown had no influence on HuR or AUF1 binding to the p16 3UTR. The use of EGFP-p16 chimeric reporter transcripts revealed that p16 mRNA decay depended on a stem-loop structure present in the p16 3UTR, as HuR and AUF1 destabilized EGFP-derived chimeric transcripts bearing wild-type sequences but not transcripts with mutations in the stem-loop structure. In senescent and HuR-silenced IDH4 human diploid fibroblasts, the EGFP-p16 3UTR transcript was more stable. Our results suggest that HuR destabilizes p16 mRNA by recruiting the RISC, an effect that depends on the secondary structure of the p16 3UTR and requires AUF1 as a cofactor.
Cancer-related gene expression programs are strongly influenced by posttranscriptional mechanisms. The RNA-binding protein HuR is highly abundant in many cancers. Numerous HuR-regulated mRNAs encode proteins implicated in carcinogenesis. Here, we review the collections of HuR target mRNAs that encode proteins responsible for implementing five major cancer traits. By interacting with specific mRNA subsets, HuR enhances the levels of proteins that (1) promote cell proliferation, (2) increase cell survival, (3) elevate local angiogenesis, (4) help the cancer cell evade immune recognition, and (5) facilitate cancer cell invasion and metastasis. We propose that HuR exerts a tumorigenic function by enabling these cancer phenotypes. We discuss evidence that links HuR to several specific cancers and suggests its potential usefulness in cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
As many DNA-damaging conditions repress transcription, posttranscriptional processes critically influence gene expression during the genotoxic stress response. The RNA-binding protein HuR robustly influences gene expression following DNA damage. HuR function is controlled in two principal ways: (1) by mobilizing HuR from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where it modulates the stability and translation of target mRNAs and (2) by altering its association with target mRNAs. Here, we review evidence that two main effectors of ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated/ATM- and Rad3-related (ATM/ATR), the checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2, jointly influence HuR function. Chk1 affects HuR localization by phosphorylating (hence inactivating) Cdk1, a kinase that phosphorylates HuR and thereby blocks HuRs cytoplasmic export. Chk2 modulates HuR binding to target mRNAs by phosphorylating HuRs RNA-recognition motifs (RRM1 and RRM2). We discuss how HuR phosphorylation by kinases including Chk1/Cdk1 and Chk2 impacts upon gene expression patterns, cell proliferation, and survival following genotoxic injury.
The discordance between steady-state levels of mRNAs and protein has been attributed to posttranscriptional control mechanisms affecting mRNA stability and translation. Traditional methods of genome wide microarray analysis, profiling steady-state levels of mRNA, may miss important mRNA targets owing to significant posttranscriptional gene regulation by RNA binding proteins (RBPs).
The RNA-binding protein HuR is highly abundant in many cancers. HuR expression was recently found to be repressed by microRNA miR-519, which potently lowered HuR translation without influencing HuR mRNA abundance. Here, we examined the levels of HuR and miR-519 in pairs of cancer and adjacent healthy tissues from ovary, lung, and kidney. In the three sample collections, the cancer specimens showed dramatically higher HuR levels, unchanged HuR mRNA concentrations, and markedly reduced miR-519 levels, when compared with healthy tissues. As tested using human cervical carcinoma cells, miR-519 reduced tumorigenesis in athymic mice. Compared with the tumors arising from control cells, cells overexpressing miR-519 formed significantly smaller tumors, while cells expressing reduced miR-519 levels gave rise to substantially larger tumors. Evidence that the miR-519-elicited reduction of HuR was critical for its tumor suppressor influence was obtained by reducing HuR, as HuR-silenced cells formed markedly smaller tumors and were unable to form large tumors even after lowering miR-519 abundance. Together, our data reveal that miR-519 inhibits tumorigenesis in large part by repressing HuR expression.
Amyloid precursor protein (APP) regulates neuronal synapse function, and its cleavage product Abeta is linked to Alzheimers disease. Here, we present evidence that the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) C and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) associate with the same APP mRNA coding region element, and they influence APP translation competitively and in opposite directions. Silencing hnRNP C increased FMRP binding to APP mRNA and repressed APP translation, whereas silencing FMRP enhanced hnRNP C binding and promoted translation. Repression of APP translation was linked to colocalization of FMRP and tagged APP RNA within processing bodies; this colocalization was abrogated by hnRNP C overexpression or FMRP silencing. Our findings indicate that FMRP represses translation by recruiting APP mRNA to processing bodies, whereas hnRNP C promotes APP translation by displacing FMRP, thereby relieving the translational block.
The Editorial Board of Aging reviews research papers published in 2009, which they believe have or will have significant impact on aging research. Among many others, the topics include genes that accelerate aging or in contrast promote longevity in model organisms, DNA damage responses and telomeres, molecular mechanisms of life span extension by calorie restriction and pharmacological interventions into aging. The emerging message in 2009 is that aging is not random but determined by a genetically-regulated longevity network and can be decelerated both genetically and pharmacologically.
Androgen receptor (AR)-mediated pathways play a critical role in the development and progression of prostate cancer. However, little is known about the regulation of AR mRNA stability and translation, two central processes that control AR expression. The ErbB3 binding protein 1 (EBP1), an AR corepressor, negatively regulates crosstalk between ErbB3 ligand heregulin (HRG)-triggered signaling and the AR axis, affecting biological properties of prostate cancer cells. EBP1 protein expression is also decreased in clinical prostate cancer. We previously demonstrated that EBP1 overexpression results in decreased AR protein levels by affecting AR promoter activity. However, EBP1 has recently been demonstrated to be an RNA binding protein. We therefore examined the ability of EBP1 to regulate AR post-transcriptionally. Here we show that EBP1 promoted AR mRNA decay through physical interaction with a conserved UC-rich motif within the 3-UTR of AR. The ability of EBP1 to accelerate AR mRNA decay was further enhanced by HRG treatment. EBP1 also bound to a CAG-formed stem-loop in the 5 coding region of AR mRNA and was able to inhibit AR translation. Thus, decreases of EBP1 in prostate cancer could be important for the post-transcriptional up-regulation of AR contributing to aberrant AR expression and disease progression.
Recent evidence supports a role for microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating the life span of model organisms. However, little is known about how these small RNAs contribute to human aging. Here, we profiled the expression of over 800 miRNAs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from young and old individuals by real-time RT-PCR analysis. This genome-wide assessment of miRNA expression revealed that the majority of miRNAs studied decreased in abundance with age. We identified nine miRNAs (miR-103, miR-107, miR-128, miR-130a, miR-155, miR-24, miR-221, miR-496, miR-1538) that were significantly lower in older individuals. Among them, five have been implicated in cancer pathogenesis. Predicted targets of several of these miRNAs, including PI3 kinase (PI3K), c-Kit and H2AX, were found to be elevated with advancing age, supporting a possible role for them in the aging process. Furthermore, we found that decreasing the levels of miR-221 was sufficient to cause a corresponding increase in the expression of the predicted target, PI3K. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that changes in miRNA expression occur with human aging and suggest that miRNAs and their predicted targets have the potential to be diagnostic indicators of age or age-related diseases.
Hepatic de-differentiation, liver development, and malignant transformation are processes in which the levels of hepatic S-adenosylmethionine are tightly regulated by 2 genes: methionine adenosyltransferase 1A (MAT1A) and methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A). MAT1A is expressed in the adult liver, whereas MAT2A expression primarily is extrahepatic and is associated strongly with liver proliferation. The mechanisms that regulate these expression patterns are not completely understood.
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