Control of mRNA half-life plays a central role in normal development and disease. Several pathological conditions, such as inflammation and cancer, tightly correlate with deregulation in mRNA stability of pro-inflammatory genes. Among these, pro-angiogenesis cytokines, which play a crucial role in the formation of new blood vessels, normally show rapid mRNA decay patterns. The mRNA half-life of these genes appears to be regulated by mRNA-binding proteins that interact with AU-rich elements (AREs) in the 3′-untranslated region of mRNAs. Some of these RNA-binding proteins, such as tristetraprolin (TTP), ARE RNA-binding protein 1, and KH-type splicing regulatory protein, normally promote mRNA degradation. Conversely, other proteins, such as embryonic lethal abnormal vision-like protein 1 (HuR) and polyadenylate-binding protein-interacting protein 2, act as antagonists, stabilizing the mRNA. The steady state levels of mRNA-binding proteins and their relative ratio is often perturbed in human cancers and associated with invasion and aggressiveness. Compelling evidence also suggests that underexpression of TTP and overexpression of HuR may be a useful prognostic and predictive marker in breast, colon, prostate, and brain cancers, indicating a potential therapeutic approach for these tumors. In this review, we summarize the main mechanisms involved in the regulation of mRNA decay of pro-angiogenesis cytokines in different cancers and discuss the interactions between the AU-rich-binding proteins and their mRNA targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology