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FASEB J. 1996 Apr;10(5):559-73.

Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression in liver regeneration: role of mRNA stability.

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Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis 55455-0301, USA.


The rentry of hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells from the normal quiescent G0 phase into the cell cycle during liver regeneration after 70% partial hepatectomy results in the discrete modulation of mRNA transcripts for many different genes. The modulation of steady-state levels of transcripts for genes involved in hepatocyte growth and replication during liver regeneration indicates that gene expression is regulated not only transcriptionally but also posttranscriptionally. In fact, posttranscriptional control appears to be the primary mechanism of regulating gene expression after the first 3 h after partial hepatectomy. Alteration in transcript stability is a key posttranscriptional regulatory mechanism used by the regenerating liver to modulate the steady-state transcript levels of multiple genes. Even genes that are transcriptionally activated during liver regeneration exhibit posttranscriptional control at the level of transcript stability. Moreover, the abundance of mRNA binding proteins, as well as translational activity and rate of poly(A) tail removal, are modulated and appear to influence transcript stability during liver regeneration. However, alteration of transcript stability is not the sole posttranscriptional mechanism regulating steady-state levels. Posttranscriptional control also occurs at the level of alternative splicing, stabilization of heterogeneous nuclear (hn) RNA, and hnRNA processing. Moreover, the role of nucleocytoplasmic transport of mature mRNA during liver regeneration is still undefined. Thus, during liver regeneration gene expression is regulated at multiple levels after the initial synthesis of hnRNA. By understanding the role of posttranscriptional mechanisms in regulating steady-state transcript levels in an in vivo model of normal growth, we will begin to appreciate its role in the genesis of abnormal growth.

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