Nitric oxide-p38 MAPK signaling stabilizes mRNA through AU-rich element-dependent and -independent mechanisms

Wang S, Zhang J, Zhang Y, Kern S, Danner RL
Source: J Leukoc Biol
Publication Date: (2008)
Issue: 83(4): 982-90
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Regulation of mRNA stability by p38 MAPK has been linked to adenosine-uridine-rich elements (AURE) within the 3;-untranslated region (3;UTR) of mRNA. Using microarrays, we previously found that AURE-containing mRNA is over-represented among transcripts up-regulated by NO(*), an activator of p38 MAPK. Here, we investigated NO(*)-induced mRNA stabilization of specific AURE-containing genes to determine the sequence specificity and protein-binding interactions associated with this effect. IL-8, TNF-alpha, and p21/Waf1 3;UTRs were inserted into a luciferase (LUC) reporter gene system and found to decrease LUC activity and mRNA half-life in transfected THP-1 cells. The inhibitory effect of these 3;UTRs on LUC expression inversely correlated with the number of AUUUA motifs. Sequence truncation of the IL-8 3;UTR revealed that two segments, one with AURE sites and another without, contributed to mRNA destabilization. NO(*) activation of p38 MAPK increased LUC activity and mRNA half-life for reporter constructs that contained either of these IL-8 3;UTR segments. AURE-dependent and -independent NO(*) effects were blocked by p38 MAPK inhibition, and AURE-dependent effects were also blocked by site-directed mutagenesis of AUUUA sites. Two proteins, HuR and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A0, were identified, which bound to the AURE-containing region of exogenous and endogenous IL-8 mRNA in a NO(*)-p38 MAPK-dependent manner. These results demonstrate that NO(*)-p38 MAPK signaling can stabilize mRNA via AURE-dependent and -independent mechanisms.