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Evidence that tristetraprolin binds to AU-rich elements and promotes the deadenylation and destabilization of tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA.

Lai W.S., Carballo E., Strum J.R., Kennington E.A., Phillips R.S., Blackshear P.J.

Mice deficient in tristetraprolin (TTP), the prototype of a family of CCCH zinc finger proteins, develop an inflammatory syndrome mediated by excess tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Macrophages derived from these mice oversecrete TNF-alpha, by a mechanism that involves stabilization of TNF-alpha mRNA, and TTP can bind directly to the AU-rich element (ARE) in TNF-alpha mRNA (E. Carballo, W. S. Lai, and P. J. Blackshear, Science 281:1001-1005, 1998). We show here that TTP binding to the TNF-alpha ARE is dependent upon the integrity of both zinc fingers, since mutation of a single cysteine residue in either zinc finger to arginine severely attenuated the binding of TTP to the TNF-alpha ARE. In intact cells, TTP at low expression levels promoted a decrease in size of the TNF-alpha mRNA as well as a decrease in its amount; at higher expression levels, the shift to a smaller TNF-alpha mRNA size persisted, while the accumulation of this smaller species increased. RNase H experiments indicated that the shift to a smaller size was due to TTP-promoted deadenylation of TNF-alpha mRNA. This CCCH protein is likely to be important in the deadenylation and degradation of TNF-alpha mRNA and perhaps other ARE-containing mRNAs, both in normal physiology and in certain pathological conditions.

Mol. Cell. Biol. 19:4311-4323(1999) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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