Importance of introns in the growth regulation of mRNA levels of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen gene

L. Ottavio, C. D. Chang, M. G. Rizzo, S. Travali, C. Casadevall, R. Baserga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The steady-state mRNA levels of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) gene are growth regulated. We have begun to identify the elements in the human PCNA gene that participate in its growth regulation by transfecting appropriate constructs in BALB/c3T3 cells. The results can be summarized as follows. (i) The 400 base pairs of the 5'-flanking sequence of the human PCNA gene upstream of the preferred cap site are sufficient for directing expression of a heterologous cDNA (S. Travali, D.-H. Ku, M.G. Rizzo, L. Ottavio, R. Baserga, and B. Calabretta, J. Biol. Chem. 264:7466-7472, 1989). (ii) Intron 4 is necessary for the proper regulation of PCNA mRNA levels in G0 cells. Removal of intron 4 leads to abnormally high levels of PCNA mRNA in serum-deprived cells, although the shortened PCNA gene with its own promoter is still responsive to serum stimulation. (iii) The presence of introns also increases the steady-state levels of PCNA mRNA in proliferating cells. These results are especially interesting for two reasons: (i) because of the extensive sequence similarities among introns and between introns and exons of the human PCNA gene, and (ii) because, usually, the presence of introns leads to increased expression, whereas in this case, removal of intron 4 caused an increase in mRNA levels, and this occurred only in quiescent cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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