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Trends Biochem Sci. 1995 Nov;20(11):465-70.

AU-rich elements: characterization and importance in mRNA degradation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, Medical School 77030, USA.


Adenylate/uridylate-rich elements (AREs) are found in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of many messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that code for proto-oncogenes, nuclear transcription factors and cytokines. They represent the most common determinant of RNA stability in mammalian cells. Moreover, ARE-directed mRNA degradation is influenced by many exogenous factors, including phorbol esters, calcium ionophores, cytokines and transcription inhibitors. These observations suggest that AREs play a critical role in the regulation of gene expression during cell growth and differentiation, and in the immune response.

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