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Pumilio facilitates miRNA regulation of the E2F3 oncogene.

Miles W.O., Tschop K., Herr A., Ji J.Y., Dyson N.J.

E2F transcription factors are important regulators of cell proliferation and are frequently dysregulated in human malignancies. To identify novel regulators of E2F function, we used Drosophila as a model system to screen for mutations that modify phenotypes caused by reduced levels of dE2F1. This screen identified components of the Pumilio translational repressor complex (Pumilio, Nanos, and Brain tumor) as suppressors of dE2F1-RNAi phenotypes. Subsequent experiments provided evidence that Pumilio complexes repress dE2F1 levels and that this mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation is conserved in human cells. The human Pumilio homologs Pum 1 and Pum 2 repress the translation of E2F3 by binding to the E2F3 3' untranslated region (UTR) and also enhance the activity of multiple E2F3 targeting microRNAs (miRNAs). E2F3 is an oncogene with strong proliferative potential and is regularly dysregulated or overexpressed in cancer. Interestingly, Pumilio/miRNA-mediated regulation of E2F3 is circumvented in cancer cells in several different ways. Bladder carcinomas selectively down-regulate miRNAs that cooperate with Pumilio to target E2F3, and multiple tumor cell lines shorten the 3' end of the E2F3 mRNA, removing the Pumilio regulatory elements. These studies suggest that Pumilio-miRNA repression of E2F3 translation provides an important level of E2F regulation that is frequently abrogated in cancer cells.

Genes Dev. 26:356-368(2012) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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