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Mol Cell Biol. 1991 May;11(5):2416-24.

Regulation of histone mRNA in the unperturbed cell cycle: evidence suggesting control at two posttranscriptional steps.

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Department of Chemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306.


The levels of histone mRNA increase 35-fold as selectively detached mitotic CHO cells progress from mitosis through G1 and into S phase. Using an exogenous gene with a histone 3' end which is not sensitive to transcriptional or half-life regulation, we show that 3' processing is regulated as cells progress from G1 to S phase. The half-life of histone mRNA is similar in G1- and S-phase cells, as measured after inhibition of transcription by actinomycin D (dactinomycin) or indirectly after stabilization by the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. Taken together, these results suggest that the change in histone mRNA levels between G1- and S-phase cells must be due to an increase in the rate of biosynthesis, a combination of changes in transcription rate and processing efficiency. In G2 phase, there is a rapid 35-fold decrease in the histone mRNA concentration which our results suggest is due primarily to an altered stability of histone mRNA. These results are consistent with a model for cell cycle regulation of histone mRNA levels in which the effects on both RNA 3' processing and transcription, rather than alterations in mRNA stability, are the major mechanisms by which low histone mRNA levels are maintained during G1.

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