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J Clin Invest. 2012 Jan;122(1):16-9. doi: 10.1172/JCI61677. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

The flip-flop HuR: part of the problem or the solution in fighting cancer?

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0614, USA.


Chronic inflammation has long been appreciated to play a critical role in tumor development and maintenance. Among the mechanisms involved in coordinating the initiation and resolution of inflammation are those responsible for modifying mRNA stability and/or translation. Several studies have linked the RNA-binding protein HuR, which increases mRNA stability, with malignant transformation. However, in this issue of the JCI, Yiakouvaki et al. compellingly demonstrate in mice that increased HuR activity in myeloid cells has a protective role in the onset of pathologic intestinal inflammation (i.e., colitis) and colitis-associated cancer (CAC). These observations highlight the need to understand the roles of HuR in distinct cell populations in vivo and suggest that enhancing HuR activity may be of clinical benefit in protecting against pathologic inflammation and cancer.

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