Thymidine phosphorylase mRNA stability and protein levels are increased through ERK-mediated cytoplasmic accumulation of hnRNP K in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells

L. C. Chen, H. P. Liu, H. P. Li, C. Hsueh, J. S. Yu, C. L. Liang, Y. S. Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cytoplasmic level of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) is significantly correlated with the elevated expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), and high levels of both proteins are predictive of a poor prognosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We herein show that TP is highly induced by serum deprivation in NPC cells, and that this is due to an increase in the half-life of the TP mRNA, as shown by nuclear run-on and actinomycin D assays. We further show that the CU-rich element of the TP mRNA directly interacts with hnRNP K, as demonstrated by immunoprecipitation RT-PCR assays, and the nucleus-to-cytoplasm translocation of hnRNP K. Blockade of hnRNP K expression reduces TP expression, suggesting that hnRNP K acts in the upregulation of TP. Mechanistically, both MEK inhibitor and the hnRNP K ERK-phosphoacceptor-site mutant decrease cytoplasmic accumulation of hnRNP K, suggesting that ERK-dependent phosphorylation is critical for TP induction. Furthermore, we found that hnRNP K-mediated TP induction allows NPC cells to resist hypoxia-induced apoptosis. Our results collectively establish the regulation and role of ERK-mediated cytoplasmic accumulation of hnRNP K as an upstream modulator of TP, suggesting that hnRNP K may be an attractive candidate as a future therapeutic target for cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1904-1915
Number of pages12
JournalOncogene
Volume28
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 04 2009

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