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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Dec;40(22):11531-44. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks930. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

RNA-binding protein AUF1 represses Dicer expression.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology, National Institute on Aging-Intramural Research Program, NIH, 251 Bayview Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


MicroRNA (miRNA) biogenesis is tightly regulated by numerous proteins. Among them, Dicer is required for the processing of the precursor (pre-)miRNAs into the mature miRNA. Despite its critical function, the mechanisms that regulate Dicer expression are not well understood. Here we report that the RNA-binding protein (RBP) AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1) associates with the endogenous DICER1 mRNA and can interact with several segments of DICER1 mRNA within the coding region (CR) and the 3'-untranslated region (UTR). Through these interactions, AUF1 lowered DICER1 mRNA stability, since silencing AUF1 lengthened DICER1 mRNA half-life and increased Dicer expression, while overexpressing AUF1 lowered DICER1 mRNA and Dicer protein levels. Given that Dicer is necessary for the synthesis of mature miRNAs, the lowering of Dicer levels by AUF1 diminished the levels of miRNAs tested, but not the levels of the corresponding pre-miRNAs. In summary, AUF1 suppresses miRNA production by reducing Dicer production.

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