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Oncogene. 2012 Oct 18;31(42):4536-49. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.618. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Dual role of the ddx5/ddx17 RNA helicases in the control of the pro-migratory NFAT5 transcription factor.

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Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.


Ddx5 and ddx17 are two highly related RNA helicases involved in both transcription and splicing. These proteins coactivate transcription factors involved in cancer such as the estrogen receptor alpha, p53 and beta-catenin. Ddx5 and ddx17 are part of the splicing machinery and can modulate alternative splicing, the main mechanism increasing the proteome diversity. Alternative splicing also has a role in gene expression level regulation when it is coupled to the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway. In this work, we report that ddx5 and ddx17 have a dual role in the control of the pro-migratory NFAT5 transcription factor. First, ddx5 and ddx17 act as transcriptional coactivators of NFAT5 and are required for activating NFAT5 target genes involved in tumor cell migration. Second, at the splicing level, ddx5 and ddx17 increase the inclusion of NFAT5 exon 5. As exon 5 contains a pre-mature translation termination codon, its inclusion leads to the regulation of NFAT5 mRNAs by the NMD pathway and to a decrease in NFAT5 protein level. Therefore, we demonstrated for the first time that a transcriptional coregulator can simultaneously regulate the transcriptional activity and alternative splicing of a transcription factor. This dual regulation, where ddx5 and ddx17 enhance the transcriptional activity of NFAT5 although reducing its protein expression level, suggests a critical role for ddx5 and ddx17 in tumor cell migration through the fine regulation of NFAT5 pathway.

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