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FASEB J. 2010 Jun;24(6):1852-65. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-140459. Epub 2010 Jan 26.

zeta-Crystallin is a bcl-2 mRNA binding protein involved in bcl-2 overexpression in T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


The human antiapoptotic bcl-2 gene has been discovered in t(14;18) B-cell leukemias/lymphomas because of its overexpression caused at a transcriptional control level by the bcl-2/IgH fusion gene. We were the first to disclose the post-transcriptional control of bcl-2 expression mediated by interactions of an adenine + uracil (AU)-rich element (ARE) in the 3'-UTR of bcl-2 mRNA with AU-binding proteins (AUBPs). Here, we identify and characterize zeta-crystallin as a new bcl-2 AUBP, whose silencing or overexpression has impact on bcl-2 mRNA stability. An increased Bcl-2 level observed in normal phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-activated T lymphocytes, acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL) T-cell lines, and T cells of patients with leukemia in comparison with normal non-PHA-activated T lymphocytes was concomitant with an increase in zeta-crystallin level. The specific association of zeta-crystallin with the bcl-2 ARE was significantly enhanced in T cells of patients with ALL, which accounts for the higher stability of bcl-2 mRNA and suggests a possible contribution of zeta-crystallin to bcl-2 overexpression occurring in this leukemia.

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