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RNA. 2002 Apr;8(4):478-96.

The mRNA of the translationally controlled tumor protein P23/TCTP is a highly structured RNA, which activates the dsRNA-dependent protein kinase PKR.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry & Immunology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


The dsRNA-activated protein kinase PKR is involved in signal transduction pathways that mediate cellular processes as diverse as cell growth and differentiation, the stress response, and apoptosis. PKR was originally described as an interferon-inducible elF2alpha kinase involved in the antiviral defense mechanism of the cell. The interaction of the kinase with specific viral RNAs has been studied in much detail, but information about cellular mRNAs, which are able to bind and activate PKR, is scarce. In search for such cellular mRNAs, we developed a cloning strategy to identify individual mRNA species from the dsRNA-rich fraction of Daudi cell poly(A)+ RNA. Two out of five cDNA clones we obtained contained sequences derived from the mRNA of the translationally controlled tumor protein P23/TCTP, indicating that this mRNA is present in the dsRNA-rich fraction. Secondary structure predictions and gel electrophoretic mobility investigations on P23/TCTP transcripts confirmed the potential of this mRNA to form extensive secondary structure. A full-length P23 transcript, but not a truncated version thereof, was able to bind to PKR in vitro and in vivo. Transient transfection experiments in human 293 cells showed that coexpression of full-length P23 mRNA leads to partial inhibition of the expression of a beta-galactosidase reporter gene in trans. Additional coexpression of a dominant negative mutant of PKR or of adenovirus VA1 RNA suppressed this inhibition, indicating that it is mediated by PKR. Studies on P23/TCTP expression in cells from PKR-knockout mice suggest that P23/TCTP mRNA translation is regulated by PKR. Hence, our results demonstrate that the mRNA of P23/TCTP may both activate PKR and be subject to translational regulation by this kinase.

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