Widespread shortening of 3'UTRs by alternative cleavage and polyadenylation activates oncogenes in cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: In cancer cells, genetic alterations can activate proto-oncogenes, thereby contributing to tumorigenesis. However, the protein products of oncogenes are sometimes overexpressed without alteration of the proto-oncogene. Helping to explain this phenomenon, we found that when compared to similarly proliferating nontransformed cell lines, cancer cell lines often expressed substantial amounts of mRNA isoforms with shorter 3' untranslated regions (UTRs). These shorter isoforms usually resulted from alternative cleavage and polyadenylation (APA). The APA had functional consequences, with the shorter mRNA isoforms exhibiting increased stability and typically producing ten-fold more protein, in part through the loss of microRNA-mediated repression. Moreover, expression of the shorter mRNA isoform of the proto-oncogene IGF2BP1/IMP-1 led to far more oncogenic transformation than did expression of the full-length, annotated mRNA. The high incidence of APA in cancer cells, with consequent loss of 3'UTR repressive elements, suggests a pervasive role for APA in oncogene activation without genetic alteration.
Project description:3'-Untranslated region (UTR) shortening of mRNAs via alternative polyadenylation (APA) has important ramifications for gene expression. By using proximal APA sites and switching to shorter 3'-UTRs, proliferating cells avoid miRNA-mediated repression. Such APA and 3'-UTR shortening events may explain the basis of some of the proto-oncogene activation cases observed in cancer cells. In this study, we investigated whether 17 ?-estradiol (E2), a potent proliferation signal, induces APA and 3'-UTR shortening to activate proto-oncogenes in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers. Our initial probe based screen of independent expression arrays suggested upregulation and 3'-UTR shortening of an essential regulator of DNA replication, CDC6 (cell division cycle 6), upon E2 treatment. We further confirmed the E2- and ER-dependent upregulation and 3'UTR shortening of CDC6, which lead to increased CDC6 protein levels and higher BrdU incorporation. Consequently, miRNA binding predictions and dual luciferase assays suggested that 3'-UTR shortening of CDC6 was a mechanism to avoid 3'-UTR-dependent negative regulations. Hence, we demonstrated CDC6 APA induction by the proliferative effect of E2 in ER+ cells and provided new insights into the complex regulation of APA. E2-induced APA is likely to be an important but previously overlooked mechanism of E2-responsive gene expression.
Project description:Gain at chromosome 17q21 in neuroblastoma is associated with a poor prognosis, independent of MYCN amplification status. Several potential proto-oncogenes have been identified in this region, one of them-insulin-like growth-factor-2 mRNA binding protein (IGF2BP1)-is expressed at high levels in stage 4 tumors, and associated with overall lower patient survival. Here, we demonstrate that down-regulation of IGF2BP1 activity, either by transcript silencing or chemical inhibition, suppresses neuroblastoma cell growth. Furthermore, the combination of IGF2BP1 inhibition along with commonly used chemotherapeutics that broadly affect DNA synthesis, or cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors that disrupt signal transduction, have a synergistic effect on the suppression of neuroblastoma cell proliferation.
Project description:The 3' untranslated regions (3' UTRs) of mRNAs serve as hubs for post-transcriptional control as the targets of microRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Sequences in 3' UTRs confer alterations in mRNA stability, direct mRNA localization to subcellular regions, and impart translational control. Thousands of mRNAs are localized to subcellular compartments in neurons-including axons, dendrites, and synapses-where they are thought to undergo local translation. Despite an established role for 3' UTR sequences in imparting mRNA localization in neurons, the specific RNA sequences and structural features at play remain poorly understood. The nervous system selectively expresses longer 3' UTR isoforms via alternative polyadenylation (APA). The regulation of APA in neurons and the neuronal functions of longer 3' UTR mRNA isoforms are starting to be uncovered. Surprising roles for 3' UTRs are emerging beyond the regulation of protein synthesis and include roles as RBP delivery scaffolds and regulators of alternative splicing. Evidence is also emerging that 3' UTRs can be cleaved, leading to stable, isolated 3' UTR fragments which are of unknown function. Mutations in 3' UTRs are implicated in several neurological disorders-more studies are needed to uncover how these mutations impact gene regulation and what is their relationship to disease severity.
Project description:Alternative cleavage and polyadenylation (APA) plays a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression across eukaryotes. Although APA is extensively studied, its regulation within cellular compartments and its physiological impact remains largely enigmatic. Here, we used a rigorous subcellular fractionation approach to compare APA profiles of cytoplasmic and nuclear RNA fractions from human cell lines. This approach allowed us to extract APA isoforms that are subjected to differential regulation and provided us with a platform to interrogate the molecular regulatory pathways that shape APA profiles in different subcellular locations. Here, we show that APA isoforms with shorter 3' UTRs tend to be overrepresented in the cytoplasm and appear to be cell-type-specific events. Nuclear retention of longer APA isoforms occurs and is partly a result of incomplete splicing contributing to the observed cytoplasmic bias of transcripts with shorter 3' UTRs. We demonstrate that the endoribonuclease III, DICER1, contributes to the establishment of subcellular APA profiles not only by expected cytoplasmic miRNA-mediated destabilization of APA mRNA isoforms, but also by affecting polyadenylation site choice.
Project description:T lymphocytes stimulated through their antigen receptor (TCR) preferentially express mRNA isoforms with shorter 3´ untranslated regions (3´-UTRs) derived from alternative pre-mRNA cleavage and polyadenylation (APA). However, the physiological relevance of APA programs remains poorly understood. CD5 is a T-cell surface glycoprotein that negatively regulates TCR signaling from the onset of T-cell activation. CD5 plays a pivotal role in mediating outcomes of cell survival or apoptosis, and may prevent both autoimmunity and cancer. In human primary T lymphocytes and Jurkat cells we found three distinct mRNA isoforms encoding CD5, each derived from distinct poly(A) signals (PASs). Upon T-cell activation, there is an overall increase in CD5 mRNAs with a specific increase in the relative expression of the shorter isoforms. 3´-UTRs derived from these shorter isoforms confer higher reporter expression in activated T cells relative to the longer isoform. We further show that polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB/PTBP1) directly binds to the proximal PAS and PTB siRNA depletion causes a decrease in mRNA derived from this PAS, suggesting an effect on stability or poly(A) site selection to circumvent targeting of the longer CD5 mRNA isoform by miR-204. These mechanisms fine-tune CD5 expression levels and thus ultimately T-cell responses.
Project description:Stimulated cells and cancer cells have widespread shortening of mRNA 3'-untranslated regions (3'UTRs) and switches to shorter mRNA isoforms due to usage of more proximal polyadenylation signals (PASs) in introns and last exons. U1 snRNP (U1), vertebrates' most abundant non-coding (spliceosomal) small nuclear RNA, silences proximal PASs and its inhibition with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (U1 AMO) triggers widespread premature transcription termination and mRNA shortening. Here we show that low U1 AMO doses increase cancer cells' migration and invasion in vitro by up to 500%, whereas U1 over-expression has the opposite effect. In addition to 3'UTR length, numerous transcriptome changes that could contribute to this phenotype are observed, including alternative splicing, and mRNA expression levels of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors. These findings reveal an unexpected role for U1 homeostasis (available U1 relative to transcription) in oncogenic and activated cell states, and suggest U1 as a potential target for their modulation.
Project description:3' UTRs play important roles in the gene regulation network via their influence on mRNA stability, translational efficiency, and subcellular localization. For a given gene, 3' UTRs of different lengths generated by alternative polyadenylation (APA) may result in functional differences in regulation. The mechanistic details of how length changes of 3' UTRs alter gene function remain unclear. By combining APA sequencing and polysome profiling, we observed that mRNA isoforms with shorter 3' UTRs were bound with more polysomes in six cell lines but not in NIH3T3 cells, suggesting that changing 3' UTRs to shorter isoforms may lead to a higher gene translational efficiency. By interfering with the expression of TNRC6A and analyzing AGO2-PAR-CLIP data, we revealed that the APA effect on translational efficiency was mainly regulated by miRNAs, and this regulation was cell cycle dependent. The discrepancy between NIH3T3 and other cell lines was due to contact inhibition of NIH3T3. Thus, the crosstalk between APA and miRNAs may be needed for the regulation of protein translational efficiency.
Project description:Oncogenes are activated through well-known chromosomal alterations such as gene fusion, translocation, and focal amplification. In light of recent evidence that the control of key genes depends on chromosome structures called insulated neighborhoods, we investigated whether proto-oncogenes occur within these structures and whether oncogene activation can occur via disruption of insulated neighborhood boundaries in cancer cells. We mapped insulated neighborhoods in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and found that tumor cell genomes contain recurrent microdeletions that eliminate the boundary sites of insulated neighborhoods containing prominent T-ALL proto-oncogenes. Perturbation of such boundaries in nonmalignant cells was sufficient to activate proto-oncogenes. Mutations affecting chromosome neighborhood boundaries were found in many types of cancer. Thus, oncogene activation can occur via genetic alterations that disrupt insulated neighborhoods in malignant cells.
Project description:Epigenetic alterations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of solid tumors, however, proto-oncogenes activated by promoter demethylation have been sporadically reported. We used an integrative method to analyze expression in primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and pharmacologically demethylated cell lines to identify aberrantly demethylated and expressed candidate proto-oncogenes and cancer testes antigens in HNSCC.We noted coordinated promoter demethylation and simultaneous transcriptional upregulation of proto-oncogene candidates with promoter homology, and phylogenetic footprinting of these promoters demonstrated potential recognition sites for the transcription factor BORIS. Aberrant BORIS expression correlated with upregulation of candidate proto-oncogenes in multiple human malignancies including primary non-small cell lung cancers and HNSCC, induced coordinated proto-oncogene specific promoter demethylation and expression in non-tumorigenic cells, and transformed NIH3T3 cells.Coordinated, epigenetic unmasking of multiple genes with growth promoting activity occurs in aerodigestive cancers, and BORIS is implicated in the coordinated promoter demethylation and reactivation of epigenetically silenced genes in human cancers.
Project description:The tumor-suppressive let-7 microRNA family targets various oncogene-encoding mRNAs. We identify the let-7 targets HMGA2, LIN28B and IGF2BP1 to form a let-7 antagonizing self-promoting oncogenic triangle. Surprisingly, 3'-end processing of IGF2BP1 mRNAs is unaltered in aggressive cancers and tumor-derived cells although IGF2BP1 synthesis was proposed to escape let-7 attack by APA-dependent (alternative polyadenylation) 3' UTR shortening. However, the expression of the triangle factors is inversely correlated with let-7 levels and promoted by LIN28B impairing let-7 biogenesis. Moreover, IGF2BP1 enhances the expression of all triangle factors by recruiting the respective mRNAs in mRNPs lacking AGO proteins and let-7 miRNAs. This indicates that the downregulation of let-7, largely facilitated by LIN28B upregulation, and the protection of let-7 target mRNAs by IGF2BP1-directed shielding in mRNPs synergize in enhancing the expression of triangle factors. The oncogenic potential of this triangle was confirmed in ovarian cancer (OC)-derived ES-2 cells transduced with let-7 targeting decoys. In these, the depletion of HMGA2 only diminishes tumor cell growth under permissive conditions. The depletion of LIN28B and more prominently IGF2BP1 severely impairs tumor cell viability, self-renewal and 2D as well as 3D migration. In conclusion, this suggests the targeting of the HMGA2-LIN28B-IGF2BP1 triangle as a promising strategy in cancer treatment.