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Cancer Res. 2007 May 15;67(10):4834-42.

Ras transformation of RIE-1 cells activates cap-independent translation of ornithine decarboxylase: regulation by the Raf/MEK/ERK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Penn State College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.


Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is the first and generally rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. Deregulation of ODC is critical for oncogenic growth, and ODC is a target of Ras. These experiments examine translational regulation of ODC in RIE-1 cells, comparing untransformed cells with those transformed by an activated Ras12V mutant. Analysis of the ODC 5' untranslated region (5'UTR) revealed four splice variants with the presence or absence of two intronic sequences. All four 5'UTR species were found in both cell lines; however, variants containing intronic sequences were more abundant in Ras-transformed cells. All splice variants support internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation, and IRES activity is markedly elevated in cells transformed by Ras. Inhibition of Ras effector targets indicated that the ODC IRES element is regulated by the phosphorylation status of the translation factor eIF4E. Dephosphorylation of eIF4E by inhibition of mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK) or the eIF4E kinase Mnk1/2 increases ODC IRES activity in both cell lines. When both the Raf/MEK/ERK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin pathways are inhibited in normal cells, ODC IRES activity is very low and cells arrest in G(1). When these pathways are inhibited in Ras-transformed cells, cell cycle arrest does not occur and ODC IRES activity increases, helping to maintain high ODC activity.

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