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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan;39(1):213-24. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq778. Epub 2010 Sep 3.

The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 is regulated by RNA-binding protein PCBP4 via mRNA stability.

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The Center for Comparative Oncology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play a major role in many post-transcriptional processes, including mRNA stability, alternative splicing and translation. PCBP4, also called MCG10, is an RBP belonging to the poly(C)-binding protein family and a target of p53 tumor suppressor. Ectopic expression of PCBP4 induces cell-cycle arrest in G₂ and apoptosis. To identify RNA targets regulated by PCBP4 and further decipher its function, we generated multiple cell lines in which PCBP4 is either inducibly over-expressed or knocked down. We found that PCBP4 expression decreases cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 induction in response to DNA damage. We also provided evidence that PCBP4 regulates p21 expression independently of p53. In addition, we showed that a deficiency in PCBP4 enhances p21 induction upon DNA damage. To validate PCBP4 regulation of p21, we made PCBP4-deficient mice and showed that p21 expression is markedly increased in PCBP4-deficient primary mouse embryo fibroblasts compared to that in wild-type counterparts. Finally, we uncovered that PCBP4 binds to the 3'-UTR of p21 transcript in vitro and in vivo to regulate p21 mRNA stability. Taken together, we revealed that PCBP4 regulates both basal and stress-induced p21 expression through binding p21 3'-UTR and modulating p21 mRNA stability.

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