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Mol Cancer Res. 2012 Jan;10(1):143-55. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-11-0208.

The oncogenic RNA-binding protein Musashi1 is regulated by HuR via mRNA translation and stability in glioblastoma cells.

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Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Musashi1 (Msi1) is an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein (RBP) that has profound implications in cellular processes such as stem cell maintenance, nervous system development, and tumorigenesis. Msi1 is highly expressed in many cancers, including glioblastoma, whereas in normal tissues, its expression is restricted to stem cells. Unfortunately, the factors that modulate Msi1 expression and trigger high levels in tumors are largely unknown. The Msi1 mRNA has a long 3' untranslated region (UTR) containing several AU- and U-rich sequences. This type of sequence motif is often targeted by HuR, another important RBP known to be highly expressed in tumor tissue such as glioblastoma and to regulate a variety of cancer-related genes. In this report, we show an interaction between HuR and the Msi1 3'-UTR, resulting in a positive regulation of Msi1 expression. We show that HuR increased MSI1 mRNA stability and promoted its translation. We also present evidence that expression of HuR and Msi1 correlate positively in clinical glioblastoma samples. Finally, we show that inhibition of cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and changes in cell-cycle profile as a result of silencing HuR are partially rescued when Msi1 is ectopically expressed. In summary, our results suggest that HuR is an important regulator of Msi1 in glioblastoma and that this regulation has important biological consequences during gliomagenesis.

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