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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 25;275(34):26484-91.

Stress-activated protein kinases (JNK and p38/HOG) are essential for vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA stability.

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  • 1Institute of Signaling, Developmental Biology, and Cancer Research, CNRS UMR 6543, 33 Avenue de Valombrose, 06189 Nice, France.


Stability of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA is tightly regulated through its 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR). Here, we demonstrate that VEGF mRNA levels are increased by anisomycin, a strong activator of stress-activated protein kinases. Hence, VEGF mRNA induction is inhibited by SB202190, an inhibitor of JNK and p38/HOG kinase. Furthermore, VEGF mRNA expression is increased in cells that overexpress JNK and p38/HOG by an increase in its stability. We show by two different approaches that anisomycin exerts its effect on the VEGF mRNA 3'-UTR. First, by using an in vitro mRNA degradation assay, the half-life of the VEGF mRNA 3'-UTR region transcript was found to be increased when incubated with extracts from anisomycin-treated cells; and second, the 3'-UTR was also sufficient to confer mRNA instability to the Nhe3 (Na(+)/H(+) exchanger 3) heterologous reporter gene, and anisomycin treatment stabilized the chimeric mRNA (Nhe3 fused to the VEGF mRNA 3'-UTR). This chimeric mRNA is also more stable in cells overexpressing p38/HOG and JNK that have been stimulated by anisomycin. We show that such regulation is mediated through an AU-rich region of the 3'-UTR contained within a stable hairpin structure. By RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we show that this region binds proteins specifically induced by anisomycin treatment. These findings clearly demonstrate a major role of stress-activated protein kinases in the post-transcriptional regulation of VEGF.

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