Development of liver tumors involves alterations in expression of many genes. The elucidation of molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression in normal cells and in cancer cells is an important step for the development of therapeutic treatments of the tumor. Translation of proteins from mRNAs is one of the critical events in the expression of the genes. My laboratory investigates biological activities of RNA CUG triplet repeat binding protein, CUGBP1, and the role of this protein in liver proliferation and in liver tumors. In the liver, CUGBP1 regulates translation of several proteins including a member of C/EBP family, C/EBP?, which is a key regulator of liver proliferation. CUGBP1 binds to the 5'region of C/EBP? mRNA and increases translation of a dominant negative molecule C/EBP?-LIP, which inhibits biological activities of full-length C/EBP proteins and promotes liver proliferation. We have recently identified a new target of CUGBP1 in the liver. We obtain evidence that CUGBP1 binds to the 5'region of mRNA coding for a histone deacetylase 1, HDAC1, and increases translation of HDAC1 protein in tumor liver. We found that the translational activity of CUGBP1 is controlled mainly on the level of phosphorylation of CUGBP1. In tumor livers and in livers proliferating after partial hepatectomy (PH), CUGBP1 is hyper-phosphorylated and this phosphorylation increases translational activities of CUGBP1. We have found that cdk4 is a kinase which phosphorylates CUGBP1 and increases its translational activity. Therefore, the major hypothesis of this application is that the cdk4-mediated activation of CUGBP1 in the liver leads to the increased translation of C/EBP?-LIP and HDAC1 and to development of tumor (see diagram on the left). Consistent with this hypothesis, levels of cyclin D1 and cyclin D3, which are activators of cdk4, are increased in cytoplasmic extracts of human liver tumors and in cytoplasm of mouse liver proliferating after partial hepatectomy.
Specific Aim 1 examines mechanisms by which proliferating livers increase amounts of cdk4-D-type cyclins complexes in cytoplasm.
Specific Aims 2 and 3 determine the role CUGBP1-C/EBP?-LIP and CUGBP1-HDAC1 pathways in liver proliferation. We will test the hypothesis that CUGBP1-mediated elevation of HDAC1 inhibits promoters of liver specific tumor suppressor genes such as C/EBPa. In this application, we will also determine mechanisms by which liver blocks growth promotion activities of C/EBP?-LIP under certain conditions such as Acute Phase Response. The understanding of the mechanisms of the elevation of C/EBP?-LIP and HDAC1 in tumor will help to develop approaches to prevent malignant transformations in the liver. Public Health Relevance: This project investigates the role of RNA binding protein CUGBP1 in development of liver tumors and in the liver proliferation after partial hepatectomy (PH). The goals of this application are 1) to examine the role of RNA binding proteins in the development of liver tumors;2) elucidate mechanisms by which proliferating livers activate RNA binding proteins;and 3) determine down-stream targets of RNA binding protein CUGBP1 in proliferating livers. The elucidation of molecular mechanisms of malignant transformations in liver will provide basement for the development of therapeutic approaches to prevent tumors.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section (HBPP)
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Woodhouse, Elizabeth
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Baylor College of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Jin, Jingling; Iakova, Polina; Jiang, Yanjun et al. (2013) Transcriptional and translational regulation of C/EBP?-HDAC1 protein complexes controls different levels of p53, SIRT1, and PGC1? proteins at the early and late stages of liver cancer. J Biol Chem 288:14451-62
Jin, Jingling; Iakova, Polina; Breaux, Meghan et al. (2013) Increased expression of enzymes of triglyceride synthesis is essential for the development of hepatic steatosis. Cell Rep 3:831-43
Jiang, Yanjun; Jin, Jingling; Iakova, Polina et al. (2013) Farnesoid X receptor directly regulates xenobiotic detoxification genes in the long-lived Little mice. Mech Ageing Dev 134:407-15
Jiang, Yanjun; Iakova, Polina; Jin, Jingling et al. (2013) Farnesoid X receptor inhibits gankyrin in mouse livers and prevents development of liver cancer. Hepatology 57:1098-106
Jones, Karlie; Timchenko, Lubov; Timchenko, Nikolai A (2012) The role of CUGBP1 in age-dependent changes of liver functions. Ageing Res Rev 11:442-9
Jones, Karlie; Wei, Christina; Iakova, Polina et al. (2012) GSK3? mediates muscle pathology in myotonic dystrophy. J Clin Invest 122:4461-72
Jin, Jingling; Iakova, Polina; Jiang, Yanjun et al. (2011) The reduction of SIRT1 in livers of old mice leads to impaired body homeostasis and to inhibition of liver proliferation. Hepatology 54:989-98
Jones, Karlie; Jin, Bingwen; Iakova, Polina et al. (2011) RNA Foci, CUGBP1, and ZNF9 are the primary targets of the mutant CUG and CCUG repeats expanded in myotonic dystrophies type 1 and type 2. Am J Pathol 179:2475-89
Haefliger, Simon; Klebig, Christiane; Schaubitzer, Kerstin et al. (2011) Protein disulfide isomerase blocks CEBPA translation and is up-regulated during the unfolded protein response in AML. Blood 117:5931-40
Iakova, Polina; Timchenko, Lubov; Timchenko, Nikolai A (2011) Intracellular signaling and hepatocellular carcinoma. Semin Cancer Biol 21:28-34

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