Mechanism of translationally coupled mRNA turnover mediated by c-fos protein-coding-region determinant

Tsung-Cheng Chang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Proto-oncogene c-fos is a member of the class of early-response genes whose transient expression plays a crucial role in cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Degradation of c- fos mRNA is an important mechanism for controlling c-fos expression. Rapid mRNA turnover mediated by the protein-coding-region determinant (mCRD) of the c-fos transcript illustrates a functional interplay between mRNA turnover and translation that coordinately influences the fate of cytoplasmic mRNA. It is suggested that mCRD communicates with the 3′ poly(A) tail via an mRNP complex comprising mCRD-associated proteins, which prevents deadenylation in the absence of translation. Ribosome transit as a result of translation is required to alter the conformation of the mRNP complex, thereby eliciting accelerated deadenylation and mRNA decay. To gain further insight into the mechanism of mCRD-mediated mRNA turnover, Unr was identified as an mCRD-binding protein, and its binding site within mCRD was characterized. Moreover, the functional role for Unr in mRNA decay was demonstrated. The result showed that elevation of Unr protein level in the cytoplasm led to inhibition of mRNA destabilization by mCRD. In addition, GST pull-down assay and immuno-precipitation analysis revealed that Unr interacted with PABP in an RNA-independent manner, which identified Unr as a novel PABP-interacting protein. Furthermore, the Unr interacting domain in PABP was characterized. In vivo mRNA decay experiments demonstrated a role for Unr-PABP interaction in mCRD-mediated mRNA decay. In conclusion, the findings of this study provide the first evidence that Unr plays a key role in mCRD-mediated mRNA decay. It is proposed that Unr is recruited by mCRD to initiate the formation of a dynamic mRNP complex for communicating with poly(A) tail through PABP. This unique mRNP complex may couple translation to mRNA decay, and perhaps to recruit the responsible nuclease for deadenylation.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology|Biochemistry

Recommended Citation

Chang, Tsung-Cheng, "Mechanism of translationally coupled mRNA turnover mediated by c-fos protein-coding-region determinant" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131474.