Turnover and translation of in vitro synthesized messenger RNAs in transfected, normal cells

Lakshman E. Rajagopalan, James S. Malter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We have developed a novel system to examine intracellular mRNA decay pathways in the absence of transcriptional blockade. In vitro transcribed, capped, and adenylated granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM·CSF) or globin mRNAs were introduced by particle-mediated gent transfer into primary cultures of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Transfected wild-type, human GM-CSF (hGM-AUUUA) mRNA decayed rapidly (t( 1/4 ) = 9 min), while a mutated version lacking AUUUA repeats (hGM-AUGUA) was significantly more stable (t( 1/4 ) = 30 min). A truncated GM-CSF mRNA lacking the entire 3'-UTR (hGM- Δ3'-UTR) was still more stable (t( 1/4 ) = 80 min) demonstrating the existence of non-AUUUA, 3'-UTR destabilizing domains. Transfected β-globin mRNA was very stable, decaying with a half-life of >360 min. Transfected mRNAs were >90% polysome associated with transgenic protein detectable within 15 min of transfection. The most stable GM-CSF mRNAs were not associated with maximal GM- CSF protein production. Agents known or hypothesized to interfere with mRNA decay, including cycloheximide, phorbol ester, or actinomycin D, stabilized both hGM-AUUUA and hGM-AUGUA mRNAs. These data demonstrate the presence of 3'-UTR, destabilizing, and translational regulatory elements outside of the AUUUA repeats and unambiguously show that actinomycin D at concentrations commonly used to inhibit transcription stabilizes cytokine mRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19871-19876
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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