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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jun;13(6):3588-97.

A GC-rich domain with bifunctional effects on mRNA and protein levels: implications for control of transforming growth factor beta 1 expression.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032.


Chimeric plasmids containing selected reporter coding domains and portions of the transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) 3' untranslated region (UTR) were prepared and used to identify potential mechanisms involved in regulating the biosynthesis of TGF-beta 1. Transient transfections with core and chimeric constructs containing the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter showed that steady-state CAT mRNA levels were decreased two- to threefold in response to the TGF-beta 1 3' UTR. Interestingly, CAT activity was somewhat increased in the same transfectants. Thus, production of CAT protein per unit of mRNA was stimulated by the TGF-beta 1 3' UTR (approximately fourfold in three cell lines of distinct lineage). The translation-stimulatory effect of the TGF-beta 1 3' UTR suggested by these studies in vivo was confirmed in vitro by cell-free translation of core and chimeric transcripts containing the growth hormone coding domain. These studies showed that production of growth hormone was stimulated threefold by the TGF-beta 1 3' UTR. A deletion analysis in vivo indicated that the GC-rich domain in the TGF-beta 1 3' UTR was responsible for both the decrease in mRNA levels and stimulation of CAT activity-mRNA. We conclude that this GC-rich domain can have a bifunctional effect on overall protein expression. Moreover, the notable absence of this GC-rich domain in TGF-beta 2, TGF-beta 3, TGF-beta 4, and TGF-beta 5 indicates that expression of distinct TGF-beta family members can be differentially controlled in cells.

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