Hu antigen R (HuR) is a positive regulator of the RNA-binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS/TLS: Implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Academic Article


  • Posttranscriptional gene regulation is governed by a network of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that interact with regulatory elements in the mRNA to modulate multiple molecular processes, including splicing, RNA transport, RNA stability, and translation. Mounting evidence indicates that there is a hierarchy within this network whereby certain RBPs cross-regulate other RBPs to coordinate gene expression. HuR, an RNA-binding protein we linked previously to aberrant VEGF mRNA metabolism in models of SOD1-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, has been identified as being high up in this hierarchy, serving as a regulator of RNA regulators. Here we investigated the role of HuR in regulating two RBPs, TDP-43 and FUS/TLS, that have been linked genetically to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Wefound thatHuRpromotes the expression of both RBPs in primary astrocytes and U251 cells under normal and stressed (hypoxic) conditions. For TDP-43, we found that HuR binds to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) and regulates its expression through translational efficiency rather than RNA stability. With HuR knockdown, there was a shift of TDP-43 and FUS mRNAs away from polysomes, consistent with translational silencing. The TDP-43 splicing function was attenuated upon HuR knockdown and could be rescued by ectopic TDP-43 lacking the 3' UTR regulatory elements. Finally, conditioned medium from astrocytes in which HuR or TDP-43 was knocked down produced significant motor neuron and cortical neuron toxicity in vitro. These findings indicate that HuR regulates TDP-43 and FUS/TLS expression and that loss of HuR-mediated RNA processing in astrocytes can alter the molecular and cellular landscape to produce a toxic phenotype.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 10109098
  • Author List

  • Lu L; Zheng L; Si Y; Luo W; Dujardin G; Kwan T; Potochick NR; Thompson SR; Schneider DA; King PH
  • Start Page

  • 31792
  • End Page

  • 31804
  • Volume

  • 289
  • Issue

  • 46