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J Biol Chem. 1991 Apr 25;266(12):7754-8.

Increased stability of nucleolin in proliferating cells by inhibition of its self-cleaving activity.

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Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Yang-Ming Medical College, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Nucleolin is the major nucleolar phosphoprotein of exponentially growing eukaryotic cells and is presumably involved in pre-rRNA transcription and ribosome biogenesis. Monoclonal antibodies against nucleolin were selected by a differential dot-immunobinding assay. Nucleolin expression during T lymphocyte activation was monitored by the specific antibody. Results showed that nucleolin fluctuated in parallel to DNA synthesis. The intact 105-kDa nucleolin molecule was the major species in actively dividing cells, whereas the degraded forms were relatively abundant in nondividing cells. These results imply that stability of nucleolin molecule is cell proliferation-dependent. When affinity purified nucleolin containing undetectable contaminants was incubated at 37 degrees C, the majority of 105-kDa nucleolin was cleaved by 6 h and completely degraded within 24 h. This purified nucleolin was further separated from possible copurified protease, if any, on a reducing sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel. After renaturation, the 105-kDa nucleolin immobilized in the gel was also cleaved at 37 degrees C. These data have confirmed that nucleolin protein autocatalyzes its own degradation. The self-cleaving activity of nucleolin was inhibited by nuclear extracts prepared from proliferating cells. Apparently, a proteolytic inhibitor(s) in the nuclei of proliferating cells stabilized the nucleolin molecule. It provides an unique regulatory mechanism for nucleolin expression.

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