Post-transcriptional regulation of neuro-oncological ventral antigen 1 by the neuronal RNA-binding proteins ELAV

Antonia Ratti, Claudia Fallini, Claudia Colombrita, Alessia Pascale, Umberto Laforenza, Alessandro Quattrone, Vincenzo Silani

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Alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs plays an important role in generating biological and functional diversity. Neuro-oncological ventral antigen 1 (Nova1) is a neuron-specific splicing factor that controls the alternative processing of a wide array of mRNAs important for synaptic activity. It is essential for the proper development of the mammalian motor system and for the survival of motoneurons. Because Nova1 gene contains putative regulatory AU-rich elements (ARE) in its highly conserved 3′-untranslated region, we investigated whether its expression is regulated by post-transcriptional mechanisms mediated by ARE-binding proteins. Among these, the neuronal ELAV (nELAV) factors are interesting candidates, because their RNA binding activity is necessary for neuronal differentiation and maintenance. By analysis of ribonucleoprotein complexes in vivo and in vitro we demonstrated that the Nova1 mRNA is a novel target of the nELAV proteins. We defined the nELAV binding site by functional experiments with luciferase reporter gene and Nova1 3′-untranslated region deletion sequences. Gene silencing and overexpression of the nELAV member HuD in motoneuronal NSC34 cells indicate that Nova1 mRNA stability and translation are positively and strongly controlled by the nELAV proteins. In addition, nELAV phosphorylation by a PKC-dependent pathway induces the recruitment of Nova1 mRNA to polysomes. Noteworthy, we found that nELAV proteins are also able to modulate Nova1 splicing activity on its target genes. Our data indicate nELAV proteins as the first factors affecting the expression and activity of the neuronal splicing regulator Nova1 and, consequently, as major candidates for the physiological modulation of Nova1-dependent processing of pre-mRNAs in neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7531-7541
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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