The aberrant expression of many genes is a common feature in the malignant transformation of cells. In mammalian cells, posttranscriptional gene regulatory processes are emerging as critical determinants controlling gene expression both in physiologic and pathologic conditions. These regulatory mechanisms are directed primarily by the interaction of mRNAs with specific RNA-binding proteins (RBP). There is an emerging body of data demonstrating that two RBPs, AUF1 and HuR, can antagonistically affect the posttranscriptional fate of target mRNAs, as well as concurrently bind to common target transcripts. Employing MCT-1 oncogene-mediated transformation of immortalized breast epithelial MCF10A cells, we characterized the largely reciprocal association of these two RBPs with target mRNAs and their influence on protein expression vis-a-vis cellular transformation. Using a ribonomics approach, we identified mRNAs from cancer-related pathways whose association with AUF1 and/or HuR were altered when comparing immortalized with transformed MCF10A cells. Significantly, we were able to show that knockdown of HuR expression using RNA interference reduced anchorage-independent growth capacity in transformed MCF10A cells and decreased protein expression of a number of validated target genes. Our data show that the global alterations in binding of HuR and AUF1 with target transcripts have a critical role in posttranscriptional regulation of genes encoding proteins involved in breast epithelial cell transformation. These findings further support the feasibility of using a ribonomics approach for the identification of cancer-related pathways.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research