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Biochem J. 1996 Jun 1;316 ( Pt 2):455-60.

Binding of a protein to an AU-rich domain of tumour necrosis factor alpha mRNA as a 35 kDa complex and its regulation in primary rat astrocytes.

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Department of Pathology, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


Newcastle disease virus (NDV) induces tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) gene transcription and increases the mRNA stability. NDV stabilizes TNF alpha mRNA by preventing poly(A) shortening in a protein kinase C-dependent manner. TNF alpha 3'-untranslated region (UTR) contains an AU-rich domain (ARD) with seven AUUUA pentamers, a motif implicated in poly(A) removal and mRNA degradation. In this report, protein binding to TNF alpha ARD and the effects of NDV and kinases on ARD-binding activity were investigated in primary rat astrocytes. Both nuclear and cytoplasmic extracts contained proteins binding to centrally located 27 nt AUUUAUUAUUUAUUUAUUAUUUAUUUA, within TNF alpha ARD. Portions of ARD with a single AUUUA did not show ARD-binding activity. The ARD-protein complexes migrated as two bands on electrophoretic mobility-shift assay. The slower moving complexes appeared either as a broader band or doublets. The UV cross-linked ARD-protein complexes, however, migrated as a single 35 kDa band on SDS/PAGE. In cytoplasmic extracts treated with alkaline phosphatase there was a decrease in the faster moving complex and an increase in the slower moving complex, whereas NDV infection produced the reverse effect. In addition, the faster moving complex was decreased when cytoplasmic extracts from NDV-infected cells were treated with protein phosphatase 1 or 2A. Neither NDV infection nor phosphatase treatment affected the mobility pattern of nuclear extracts. The data indicate that a protein of molecular mass less than 35 kDa binds to a segment of TNF alpha ARD containing primarily UUAUUUAUU motifs, and the ARD-binding activity in cytoplasmic compartment is post-transcriptionally modified.

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