Regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase gene expression by mRNA stabilization

David F Roe, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression increases in adrenal chromaffin cells treated with the nicotinic agonist, dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP; 1 μM). We are using this response as a model of the changes in TH level that occur during increased cholinergic neural activity. Here we report a 4-fold increase in TH mRNA half-life in DMPP-treated chromaffin cells that is apparent when using a pulse-chase analysis to measure TH mRNA half-life. No increase is apparent using actinomycin D to measure half-life, indicating a requirement for ongoing transcription. Characterization of protein binding to the TH 3′UTR using RNA electro-mobility shift assays show the presence of two complexes both of which are increased by DMPP-treatment. The faster migrating complex (FMC) increases 2.5-fold and the slower migrating complex (SMC) increases 1.5-fold. Separation of UV crosslinked RNA-protein complexes on SDS polyacrylamide gels shows FMC to contain a single protein whereas SMC contains two proteins. Northwesterns yielded similar results. Transfection studies reveal an increase in expression of the full-length TH transcript due to DMPP-treatment similar to that of endogenous TH mRNA. This finding suggests the increased expression is due primarily to mRNA stabilization. Transfection of luciferase reporter constructs containing regions of the TH 3′UTR reveal only the full-length 3′UTR influenced the expression level of reporter transcripts.

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Recommended Citation

Roe, David F, "Regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase gene expression by mRNA stabilization" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131471.