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Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):3069-75.

Overexpression of nucleolin in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells induces stabilization of bcl2 mRNA.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by the accumulation of clonal B cells that are resistant to apoptosis as a result of bcl2 oncogene overexpression. Studies were done to determine the mechanism for the up-regulation of bcl-2 protein observed in CD19+ CLL cells compared with CD19+ B cells from healthy volunteers. The 11-fold higher level of bcl-2 protein in CLL cells was positively correlated with a 26-fold elevation in the cytosolic level of nucleolin, a bcl2 mRNA-stabilizing protein. Measurements of the bcl2 heterogeneous nuclear/bcl2 mRNA (hnRNA)/mRNA ratios and the rates of bcl2 mRNA decay in cell extracts indicated that the 3-fold higher steady-state level of bcl2 mRNA in CLL cells was the result of increased bcl2 mRNA stability. Nucleolin was present throughout the nucleus and cytoplasm of CLL cells, whereas in normal B cells nucleolin was only detected in the nucleus. The addition of recombinant human nucleolin to extracts of normal B cells markedly slowed the rate of bcl2 mRNA decay. SiRNA knockdown of nucleolin in MCF-7 cells resulted in decreased levels of bcl2mRNA and protein but no change in beta-actin. These results indicate that bcl-2 overexpression in CLL cells is related to stabilization of bcl2 mRNA by nucleolin.

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