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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Dec 4. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1209. [Epub ahead of print]

RNA-binding protein RPS3 contributes to hepatocarcinogenesis by post-transcriptionally up-regulating SIRT1.

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Peking University Research Center on Aging, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing Key Laboratory of Protein Posttranslational Modifications and Cell Function, Beijing 100191, P.R. China.
Department of General Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, P.R. China.


Although several studies indicate that RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) contribute to key steps in a variety of physiological processes and cancer, the detailed biological functions and mechanisms remain to be determined. By performing bioinformatics analysis using well-established hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) datasets, we identified a set of HCC progression-associated RBPs (HPARBPs) and found that the global expression of HPARBPs was significantly correlated with patient prognosis. Among the 42 HPARBPs, human ribosomal protein S3 (RPS3) was one of the most abundant genes whose role remains uncharacterized in HCC. Gain- and loss-of-function analyses demonstrated that RPS3 promoted HCC tumorigenesis both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, we revealed that silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1) was a critical target of RPS3 and was essential for sustaining the RPS3-induced malignant phenotypes of HCC cells. RPS3 stabilized SIRT1 mRNA by binding to AUUUA motifs in the 3448-3530 region of the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of SIRT1 mRNA. In addition, we found that (5-formylfuran-2-yl) methyl 4-hydroxy-2-methylenebutanoate (FMHM) inhibited HCC progression by repressing the RPS3/SIRT1 pathway. Our study unveils a novel extra-ribosomal role of RPS3 in facilitating hepatocarcinogenesis via the post-transcriptional regulation of SIRT1 expression and proposes that the RPS3/SIRT1 pathway serves as a potential therapeutic target in HCC.


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