The RNA-binding protein HuR affects cell fate by regulating the stability and/or the translation of messenger RNAs that encode cell stress response proteins. In this study, we delineate a novel regulatory mechanism by which HuR contributes to stress-induced cell death. Upon lethal stress, HuR translocates into the cytoplasm by a mechanism involving its association with the apoptosome activator pp32/PHAP-I. Depleting the expression of pp32/PHAP-I by RNA interference reduces both HuR cytoplasmic accumulation and the efficiency of caspase activation. In the cytoplasm, HuR undergoes caspase-mediated cleavage at aspartate 226. This cleavage activity is significantly reduced in the absence of pp32/PHAP-I. Substituting aspartate 226 with an alanine creates a noncleavable isoform of HuR that, when over expressed, maintains its association with pp32/PHAP-I and delays the apoptotic response. Thus, we propose a model in which HuR association with pp32/PHAP-I and its caspase-mediated cleavage constitutes a regulatory step that contributes to an amplified apoptotic response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology