Publications by authors named "Melanie C MacNicol"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Single and double modified salinomycin analogs target stem-like cells in 2D and 3D breast cancer models.

Biomed Pharmacother 2021 Jun 12;141:111815. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, United States.

Breast cancer remains one of the leading cancers among women. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are tumor-initiating cells which drive progression, metastasis, and reoccurrence of the disease. CSCs are resistant to conventional chemo- and radio-therapies and their ability to survive such treatment enables tumor reestablishment. Metastasis is the main cause of mortality in women with breast cancer, thus advances in treatment will depend on therapeutic strategies targeting CSCs. Salinomycin (SAL) is a naturally occurring polyether ionophore antibiotic known for its anticancer activity towards several types of tumor cells. In the present work, a library of 17 C1-single and C1/C20-double modified SAL analogs was screened to identify compounds with improved activity against breast CSCs. Six single- and two double-modified analogs were more potent (IC range of 1.1 ± 0.1-1.4 ± 0.2 µM) toward the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 compared to SAL (IC of 4.9 ± 1.6 µM). Double-modified compound 17 was found to be more efficacious than SAL against the majority of cancer cell lines in the NCI-60 Human Tumor Cell Line Panel. Compound 17 was more potent than SAL in inhibiting cell migration and cell renewal properties of MDA-MB-231 cells, as well as inducing selective loss of the CD44/CD24 stem-cell-like subpopulation in both monolayer (2D) and organoid (3D) culture. The present findings highlight the therapeutic potential of SAL analogs towards breast CSCs and identify select compounds that merit further study and clinical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111815DOI Listing
June 2021

Post-Transcriptional Regulation of : A Checkpoint for Metabolic Control of Female Reproduction.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Mar 24;22(7). Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

The proper expression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors (GnRHRs) by pituitary gonadotropes is critical for maintaining maximum reproductive capacity. GnRH receptor expression must be tightly regulated in order to maintain the normal pattern of expression through the estrous cycle in rodents, which is believed to be important for interpreting the finely tuned pulses of GnRH from the hypothalamus. Much work has shown that expression is heavily regulated at the level of transcription. However, researchers have also discovered that is regulated post-transcriptionally. This review will discuss how RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs may play critical roles in the regulation of GnRHR expression. We will also discuss how these post-transcriptional regulators may themselves be affected by metabolic cues, specifically with regards to the adipokine leptin. All together, we present evidence that is regulated post-transcriptionally, and that this concept must be further explored in order to fully understand the complex nature of this receptor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038027PMC
March 2021

Control of the Anterior Pituitary Cell Lineage Regulator POU1F1 by the Stem Cell Determinant Musashi.

Endocrinology 2021 Mar;162(3)

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.

The adipokine leptin regulates energy homeostasis through ubiquitously expressed leptin receptors. Leptin has a number of major signaling targets in the brain, including cells of the anterior pituitary (AP). We have previously reported that mice lacking leptin receptors in AP somatotropes display growth hormone (GH) deficiency, metabolic dysfunction, and adult-onset obesity. Among other targets, leptin signaling promotes increased levels of the pituitary transcription factor POU1F1, which in turn regulates the specification of somatotrope, lactotrope, and thyrotrope cell lineages within the AP. Leptin's mechanism of action on somatotropes is sex dependent, with females demonstrating posttranscriptional control of Pou1f1 messenger RNA (mRNA) translation. Here, we report that the stem cell marker and mRNA translational control protein, Musashi1, exerts repression of the Pou1f1 mRNA. In female somatotropes, Msi1 mRNA and protein levels are increased in the mouse model that lacks leptin signaling (Gh-CRE Lepr-null), coincident with lack of POU1f1 protein, despite normal levels of Pou1f1 mRNA. Single-cell RNA sequencing of pituitary cells from control female animals indicates that both Msi1 and Pou1f1 mRNAs are expressed in Gh-expressing somatotropes, and immunocytochemistry confirms that Musashi1 protein is present in the somatotrope cell population. We demonstrate that Musashi interacts directly with the Pou1f1 mRNA 3' untranslated region and exerts translational repression of a Pou1f1 mRNA translation reporter in a leptin-sensitive manner. Musashi immunoprecipitation from whole pituitary reveals coassociated Pou1f1 mRNA. These findings suggest a mechanism in which leptin stimulation is required to reverse Musashi-mediated Pou1f1 mRNA translational control to coordinate AP somatotrope function with metabolic status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814296PMC
March 2021

The Importance of Leptin to Reproduction.

Endocrinology 2021 02;162(2)

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.

A healthy nutritional state is required for all aspects of reproduction and is signaled by the adipokine leptin. Leptin acts in a relatively narrow concentration range: too much or too little will compromise fertility. The leptin signal timing is important to prepubertal development in both sexes. In the brain, leptin acts on ventral premammillary neurons which signal kisspeptin (Kiss1) neurons to stimulate gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. Suppression of Kiss1 neurons occurs when agouti-related peptide neurons are activated by reduced leptin, because leptin normally suppresses these orexigenic neurons. In the pituitary, leptin stimulates production of GnRH receptors (GnRHRs) and follicle-stimulating hormone at midcycle, by activating pathways that derepress actions of the messenger ribonucleic acid translational regulatory protein Musashi. In females, rising estrogen stimulates a rise in serum leptin, which peaks at midcycle, synchronizing with nocturnal luteinizing hormone pulses. The normal range of serum leptin levels (10-20 ng/mL) along with gonadotropins and growth factors promote ovarian granulosa and theca cell functions and oocyte maturation. In males, the prepubertal rise in leptin promotes testicular development. However, a decline in leptin levels in prepubertal boys reflects inhibition of leptin secretion by rising androgens. In adult males, leptin levels are 10% to 50% of those in females, and high leptin inhibits testicular function. The obesity epidemic has elucidated leptin resistance pathways, with too much leptin in either sex leading to infertility. Under conditions of balanced nutrition, however, the secretion of leptin is timed and regulated within a narrow level range that optimizes its trophic effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749705PMC
February 2021

Sex differences in somatotrope response to fasting: biphasic responses in male mice.

J Endocrinol 2020 12;247(3):213-224

Department of Neurobiology & Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.

Anterior pituitary somatotropes are important metabolic sensors responding to leptin by secreting growth hormone (GH). However, reduced leptin signals caused by fasting have not always correlated with reduced serum GH. Reports show that fasting may stimulate or reduce GH secretion, depending on the species. Mechanisms underlying these distinct somatotrope responses to fasting remain unknown. To define the somatotrope response to decreased leptin signaling we examined markers of somatotrope function over different time periods of fasting. Male mice were fasted for 24 and 48 h, with female mice fasted for 24 h compared to fed controls ad libitum. Body weight and serum glucose were reduced in both males and females, but, unexpectedly, serum leptin was reduced only in males. Furthermore, in males, serum GH levels showed a biphasic response with significant reductions at 24 h followed by a significant rise at 48 h, which coincided with the rise in serum ghrelin levels. In contrast, females showed an increase in serum GH at 24 h. We then explored mechanisms underlying the differential somatotrope responses seen in males and observed that pituitary levels of Gh mRNA increased, with no distinction between acute and prolonged fasting. By contrast, the Ghrhr mRNA (encoding GH releasing hormone receptor) and the Ghsr mRNA (encoding the ghrelin receptor) were both greatly increased at prolonged fasting times coincident with increased serum GH. These findings show sex differences in the somatotrope and adipocyte responses to fasting and support an adaptive role for somatotropes in males in response to multiple metabolic signals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/JOE-20-0275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7673470PMC
December 2020

Molecular Mechanisms of Pituitary Cell Plasticity.

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2020 10;11:656. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, United States.

The mechanisms that mediate plasticity in pituitary function have long been a subject of vigorous investigation. Early studies overcame technical barriers and challenged conceptual barriers to identify multipotential and multihormonal cell populations that contribute to diverse pituitary stress responses. Decades of intensive study have challenged the standard model of dedicated, cell type-specific hormone production and have revealed the malleable cellular fates that mediate pituitary responses. Ongoing studies at all levels, from animal physiology to molecular analyses, are identifying the mechanisms underlying this cellular plasticity. This review describes the findings from these studies that utilized state-of-the-art tools and techniques to identify mechanisms of plasticity throughout the pituitary and focuses on the insights brought to our understanding of pituitary function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.00656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7511515PMC
May 2021

Metabolic signalling to somatotrophs: Transcriptional and post-transcriptional mediators.

J Neuroendocrinol 2020 11 13;32(11):e12883. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.

In normal individuals, pituitary somatotrophs optimise body composition by responding to metabolic signals from leptin. To identify mechanisms behind the regulation of somatotrophs by leptin, we used Cre-LoxP technology to delete leptin receptors (LEPR) selectively in somatotrophs and developed populations purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) that contained 99% somatotrophs. FACS-purified, Lepr-null somatotrophs showed reduced levels of growth hormone (GH), growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRHR), and Pou1f1 proteins and Gh (females) and Ghrhr (both sexes) mRNAs. Pure somatotrophs also expressed thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and prolactin (PRL), both of which were reduced in pure somatotrophs lacking LEPR. This introduced five gene products that were targets of leptin. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that leptin is both a transcriptional and a post-transcriptional regulator of these gene products. Our tests showed that Pou1f1 and/or the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 transcriptional regulatory pathways are implicated in the leptin regulation of Gh or Ghrhr mRNAs. We then focused on potential actions by candidate microRNAs (miRNAs) with consensus binding sites on the 3' UTR of Gh or Ghrhr mRNAs. Somatotroph Lepr-null deletion mutants expressed elevated levels of miRNAs including miR1197-3p (in females), miR103-3p and miR590-3p (both sexes), which bind Gh mRNA, or miRNA-325-3p (elevated in both sexes), which binds Ghrhr mRNA. This elevation indicates repression of translation in the absence of LEPR. In addition, after detecting binding sites for Musashi on Tshb and Prl 3' UTR, we determined that Musashi1 repressed translation of both mRNAs in in vitro fluc assays and that Prl mRNA was enriched in Musashi immunoprecipitation assays. Finally, we tested ghrelin actions to determine whether its nitric oxide-mediated signalling pathways would restore somatotroph functions in deletion mutants. Ghrelin did not restore either GHRH binding or GH secretion in vitro. These studies show an unexpectedly broad role for leptin with respect to maintaining somatotroph functions, including the regulation of PRL and TSH in subsets of somatotrophs that may be progenitor cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jne.12883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086172PMC
November 2020

Musashi interaction with poly(A)-binding protein is required for activation of target mRNA translation.

J Biol Chem 2019 07 31;294(28):10969-10986. Epub 2019 May 31.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences,; Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205 and. Electronic address:

The Musashi family of mRNA translational regulators controls both physiological and pathological stem cell self-renewal primarily by repressing target mRNAs that promote differentiation. In response to differentiation cues, Musashi can switch from a repressor to an activator of target mRNA translation. However, the molecular events that distinguish Musashi-mediated translational activation from repression are not understood. We have previously reported that Musashi function is required for the maturation of oocytes and specifically for translational activation of specific dormant maternal mRNAs. Here, we employed MS to identify cellular factors necessary for Musashi-dependent mRNA translational activation. We report that Musashi1 needs to associate with the embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (ePABP) or the canonical somatic cell poly(A)-binding protein PABPC1 for activation of Musashi target mRNA translation. Co-immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated an increased Musashi1 interaction with ePABP during oocyte maturation. Attenuation of endogenous ePABP activity severely compromised Musashi function, preventing downstream signaling and blocking oocyte maturation. Ectopic expression of either ePABP or PABPC1 restored Musashi-dependent mRNA translational activation and maturation of ePABP-attenuated oocytes. Consistent with these findings, PABPC1 remained associated with Musashi under conditions of Musashi target mRNA de-repression and translation during mammalian stem cell differentiation. Because association of Musashi1 with poly(A)-binding proteins has previously been implicated only in repression of Musashi target mRNAs, our findings reveal novel context-dependent roles for the interaction of Musashi with poly(A)-binding protein family members in response to extracellular cues that control cell fate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA119.007220DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6635449PMC
July 2019

Leptin Regulation of Gonadotrope Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptors As a Metabolic Checkpoint and Gateway to Reproductive Competence.

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2017 5;8:367. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, United States.

The adipokine leptin signals the body's nutritional status to the brain, and particularly, the hypothalamus. However, leptin receptors (LEPRs) can be found all throughout the body and brain, including the pituitary. It is known that leptin is permissive for reproduction, and mice that cannot produce leptin (Lep/Lep) are infertile. Many studies have pinpointed leptin's regulation of reproduction to the hypothalamus. However, LEPRs exist at all levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. We have previously shown that deleting the signaling portion of the LEPR specifically in gonadotropes impairs fertility in female mice. Our recent studies have targeted this regulation to the control of gonadotropin releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) expression. The hypotheses presented here are twofold: (1) cyclic regulation of pituitary GnRHR levels sets up a target metabolic checkpoint for control of the reproductive axis and (2) multiple checkpoints are required for the metabolic signaling that regulates the reproductive axis. Here, we emphasize and explore the relationship between the hypothalamus and the pituitary with regard to the regulation of GnRHR. The original data we present strengthen these hypotheses and build on our previous studies. We show that we can cause infertility in 70% of female mice by deleting all isoforms of LEPR specifically in gonadotropes. Our findings implicate activin subunit (InhBa) mRNA as a potential leptin target in gonadotropes. We further show gonadotrope-specific upregulation of GnRHR protein (but not mRNA levels) following leptin stimulation. In order to try and understand this post-transcriptional regulation, we tested candidate miRNAs (identified with analysis) that may be binding the mRNA. We show significant upregulation of one of these miRNAs in our gonadotrope-Lepr-null females. The evidence provided here, combined with our previous work, lay the foundation for metabolically regulated post-transcriptional control of the gonadotrope. We discuss possible mechanisms, including miRNA regulation and the involvement of the RNA binding protein, Musashi. We also demonstrate how this regulation may be vital for the dynamic remodeling of gonadotropes in the cycling female. Finally, we propose that the leptin receptivity of both the hypothalamus and the pituitary are vital for the body's ability to delay or slow reproduction during periods of low nutrition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2017.00367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5760501PMC
January 2018

Association of Gnrhr mRNA With the Stem Cell Determinant Musashi: A Mechanism for Leptin-Mediated Modulation of GnRHR Expression.

Endocrinology 2018 02;159(2):883-894

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.

The cyclic expression of pituitary gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors (GnRHRs) may be an important checkpoint for leptin regulatory signals. Gonadotrope Lepr-null mice have reduced GnRHR levels, suggesting these receptors may be leptin targets. To determine if leptin stimulated GnRHR directly, primary pituitary cultures or pieces were exposed to 1 to 100 nM leptin. Leptin increased GnRHR protein levels and the percentages of gonadotropes that bound biotinylated analogs of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (bio-GnRH) but had no effect on Gnrhr messenger RNA (mRNA). An in silico analysis revealed three consensus Musashi (MSI) binding elements (MBEs) for this translational control protein in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of Gnrhr mRNA. Several experiments determined that these Gnrhr mRNA MBE were active: (1) RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assay analyses showed that MSI1 specifically bound Gnrhr mRNA 3'-UTR; (2) RNA immunoprecipitation of pituitary fractions with MSI1 antibody pulled down a complex enriched in endogenous MSI protein and endogenous Gnrhr mRNA; and (3) fluorescence reporter assays showed that MSI1 repressed translation of the reporter coupled to the Gnrhr 3'-UTR. In vitro, leptin stimulation of pituitary pieces reduced Msi1 mRNA in female pituitaries, and leptin stimulation of pituitary cultures reduced MSI1 proteins selectively in gonadotropes identified by binding to bio-GnRH. These findings show that leptin's direct stimulatory actions on gonadotrope GnRHR correlate with a direct inhibition of expression of the posttranscriptional regulator MSI1. We also show MSI1 interaction with the 3'-UTR of Gnrhr mRNA. These findings now open the door to future studies of leptin-modulated posttranscriptional pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2017-00586DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5776477PMC
February 2018

Evasion of regulatory phosphorylation by an alternatively spliced isoform of Musashi2.

Sci Rep 2017 09 14;7(1):11503. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, 4301 W. Markham, Little Rock, 72205, AR, USA.

The Musashi family of RNA binding proteins act to promote stem cell self-renewal and oppose cell differentiation predominantly through translational repression of mRNAs encoding pro-differentiation factors and inhibitors of cell cycle progression. During tissue development and repair however, Musashi repressor function must be dynamically regulated to allow cell cycle exit and differentiation. The mechanism by which Musashi repressor function is attenuated has not been fully established. Our prior work indicated that the Musashi1 isoform undergoes site-specific regulatory phosphorylation. Here, we demonstrate that the canonical Musashi2 isoform is subject to similar regulated site-specific phosphorylation, converting Musashi2 from a repressor to an activator of target mRNA translation. We have also characterized a novel alternatively spliced, truncated isoform of human Musashi2 (variant 2) that lacks the sites of regulatory phosphorylation and fails to promote translation of target mRNAs. Consistent with a role in opposing cell cycle exit and differentiation, upregulation of Musashi2 variant 2 was observed in a number of cancers and overexpression of the Musashi2 variant 2 isoform promoted cell transformation. These findings indicate that alternately spliced isoforms of the Musashi protein family possess distinct functional and regulatory properties and suggest that differential expression of Musashi isoforms may influence cell fate decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11917-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5599597PMC
September 2017

Functional Integration of mRNA Translational Control Programs.

Biomolecules 2015 Jul 21;5(3):1580-99. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

Regulated mRNA translation plays a key role in control of cell cycle progression in a variety of physiological and pathological processes, including in the self-renewal and survival of stem cells and cancer stem cells. While targeting mRNA translation presents an attractive strategy for control of aberrant cell cycle progression, mRNA translation is an underdeveloped therapeutic target. Regulated mRNAs are typically controlled through interaction with multiple RNA binding proteins (RBPs) but the mechanisms by which the functions of distinct RBPs bound to a common target mRNA are coordinated are poorly understood. The challenge now is to gain insight into these mechanisms of coordination and to identify the molecular mediators that integrate multiple, often conflicting, inputs. A first step includes the identification of altered mRNA ribonucleoprotein complex components that assemble on mRNAs bound by multiple, distinct RBPs compared to those recruited by individual RBPs. This review builds upon our knowledge of combinatorial control of mRNA translation during the maturation of oocytes from Xenopus laevis, to address molecular strategies that may mediate RBP diplomacy and conflict resolution for coordinated control of mRNA translational output. Continued study of regulated ribonucleoprotein complex dynamics promises valuable new insights into mRNA translational control and may suggest novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biom5031580DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4598765PMC
July 2015

Neural stem and progenitor cell fate transition requires regulation of Musashi1 function.

BMC Dev Biol 2015 Mar 18;15:15. Epub 2015 Mar 18.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham, Slot 814, Little Rock, AR, 72205, USA.

Background: There is increasing evidence of a pivotal role for regulated mRNA translation in control of developmental cell fate transitions. Physiological and pathological stem and progenitor cell self-renewal is maintained by the mRNA-binding protein, Musashi1 through repression of translation of key mRNAs encoding cell cycle inhibitory proteins. The mechanism by which Musashi1 function is modified to allow translation of these target mRNAs under conditions that require inhibition of cell cycle progression, is unknown.

Results: In this study, we demonstrate that differentiation of primary embryonic rat neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) or human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells results in the rapid phosphorylation of Musashi1 on the evolutionarily conserved site serine 337 (S337). Phosphorylation of this site has been shown to be required for cell cycle control during the maturation of Xenopus oocytes. S337 phosphorylation in mammalian NSPCs and human SH-SY5Y cells correlates with the de-repression and translation of a Musashi reporter mRNA and with accumulation of protein from the endogenous Musashi target mRNA, p21(WAF1/CIP1). Inhibition of Musashi regulatory phosphorylation, through expression of a phospho-inhibitory mutant Musashi1 S337A or over-expression of the wild-type Musashi, blocked differentiation of both NSPCs and SH-SY5Y cells. Musashi1 was similarly phosphorylated in NSPCs and SH-SY5Y cells under conditions of nutrient deprivation-induced cell cycle arrest. Expression of the Musashi1 S337A mutant protein attenuated nutrient deprivation-induced NSPC and SH-SY5Y cell death.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that in response to environmental cues that oppose cell cycle progression, regulation of Musashi function is required to promote target mRNA translation and cell fate transition. Forced modulation of Musashi1 function may present a novel therapeutic strategy to oppose pathological stem cell self-renewal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12861-015-0064-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369890PMC
March 2015

Autoregulation of Musashi1 mRNA translation during Xenopus oocyte maturation.

Mol Reprod Dev 2012 Aug 9;79(8):553-63. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301W Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

The mRNA translational control protein, Musashi, plays a critical role in cell fate determination through sequence-specific interactions with select target mRNAs. In proliferating stem cells, Musashi exerts repression of target mRNAs to promote cell cycle progression. During stem cell differentiation, Musashi target mRNAs are de-repressed and translated. Recently, we have reported an obligatory requirement for Musashi to direct translational activation of target mRNAs during Xenopus oocyte meiotic cell cycle progression. Despite the importance of Musashi in cell cycle regulation, only a few target mRNAs have been fully characterized. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of a new Musashi target mRNA in Xenopus oocytes. We demonstrate that progesterone-stimulated translational activation of the Xenopus Musashi1 mRNA is regulated through a functional Musashi binding element (MBE) in the Musashi1 mRNA 3' untranslated region (3' UTR). Mutational disruption of the MBE prevented translational activation of Musashi1 mRNA and its interaction with Musashi protein. Further, elimination of Musashi function through microinjection of inhibitory antisense oligonucleotides prevented progesterone-induced polyadenylation and translation of the endogenous Musashi1 mRNA. Thus, Xenopus Musashi proteins regulate translation of the Musashi1 mRNA during oocyte maturation. Our results indicate that the hierarchy of sequential and dependent mRNA translational control programs involved in directing progression through meiosis are reinforced by an intricate series of nested, positive feedback loops, including Musashi mRNA translational autoregulation. These autoregulatory positive feedback loops serve to amplify a weak initiating signal into a robust commitment for the oocyte to progress through the cell cycle and become competent for fertilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrd.22060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845664PMC
August 2012

Ringo/cyclin-dependent kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways regulate the activity of the cell fate determinant Musashi to promote cell cycle re-entry in Xenopus oocytes.

J Biol Chem 2012 Mar 3;287(13):10639-10649. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 722205; Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 722205; Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 722205. Electronic address:

Cell cycle re-entry during vertebrate oocyte maturation is mediated through translational activation of select target mRNAs, culminating in the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and cyclin B/cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) signaling. The temporal order of targeted mRNA translation is crucial for cell cycle progression and is determined by the timing of activation of distinct mRNA-binding proteins. We have previously shown in oocytes from Xenopus laevis that the mRNA-binding protein Musashi targets translational activation of early class mRNAs including the mRNA encoding the Mos proto-oncogene. However, the molecular mechanism by which Musashi function is activated is unknown. We report here that activation of Musashi1 is mediated by Ringo/CDK signaling, revealing a novel role for early Ringo/CDK function. Interestingly, Musashi1 activation is subsequently sustained through mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling, the downstream effector of Mos mRNA translation, thus establishing a positive feedback loop to amplify Musashi function. The identified regulatory sites are present in mammalian Musashi proteins, and our data suggest that phosphorylation may represent an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to control Musashi-dependent target mRNA translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.300681DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323046PMC
March 2012

Context-dependent regulation of Musashi-mediated mRNA translation and cell cycle regulation.

Cell Cycle 2011 Jan 1;10(1):39-44. Epub 2011 Jan 1.

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.

Musashi-mediated mRNA translational control has been implicated in the promotion of physiological and pathological stem cell proliferation. During self-renewal of mammalian stem cells, Musashi has been proposed to act to repress the translation of mRNAs encoding inhibitors of cell cycle progression. By contrast, in maturing Xenopus oocytes Musashi activates translation of target mRNAs that encode proteins promoting cell cycle progression. The mechanisms directing Musashi to differentially control mRNA translation in mammalian stem cells and Xenopus oocytes is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that the mechanisms defining Musashi function lie within the cellular context. Specifically, we show that murine Musashi acts as an activator of translation in maturing Xenopus oocytes while Xenopus Musashi functions as a repressor of target mRNA translation in mammalian cells. We further demonstrate that within the context of a primary mammalian neural stem/progenitor cell, Musashi can be converted from a repressor of mRNA translation to an activator of translation in response to extracellular stimuli. We present current models of Musashi-mediated mRNA translational control and discuss possible mechanisms for regulating Musashi function. An understanding of these mechanisms presents exciting possibilities for development of therapeutic targets to control physiological and pathological stem cell proliferation.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048072PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.10.1.14388DOI Listing
January 2011

Developmental timing of mRNA translation--integration of distinct regulatory elements.

Mol Reprod Dev 2010 Aug;77(8):662-9

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

Targeted mRNA translation is emerging as a critical mechanism to control gene expression during developmental processes. Exciting new findings have revealed a critical role for regulatory elements within the mRNA untranslated regions to direct the timing of mRNA translation. Regulatory elements can be targeted by sequence-specific binding proteins to direct either repression or activation of mRNA translation in response to developmental signals. As new regulatory elements continue to be identified it has become clear that targeted mRNAs can contain multiple regulatory elements, directing apparently contradictory translational patterns. How is this complex regulatory input integrated? In this review, we focus on a new challenge area-how sequence-specific RNA binding proteins respond to developmental signals and functionally integrate to regulate the extent and timing of target mRNA translation. We discuss current understanding with a particular emphasis on the control of cell cycle progression that is mediated through a complex interplay of distinct mRNA regulatory elements during Xenopus oocyte maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrd.21191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2910371PMC
August 2010

Enforcing temporal control of maternal mRNA translation during oocyte cell-cycle progression.

EMBO J 2010 Jan 3;29(2):387-97. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.

Meiotic cell-cycle progression in progesterone-stimulated Xenopus oocytes requires that the translation of pre-existing maternal mRNAs occur in a strict temporal order. Timing of translation is regulated through elements within the mRNA 3' untranslated region (3' UTR), which respond to cell cycle-dependant signalling. One element that has been previously implicated in the temporal control of mRNA translation is the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE). In this study, we show that the CPE does not direct early mRNA translation. Rather, early translation is directed through specific early factors, including the Musashi-binding element (MBE) and the MBE-binding protein, Musashi. Our findings indicate that although the cyclin B5 3' UTR contains both CPEs and an MBE, the MBE is the critical regulator of early translation. The cyclin B2 3' UTR contains CPEs, but lacks an MBE and is translationally activated late in maturation. Finally, utilizing antisense oligonucleotides to attenuate endogenous Musashi synthesis, we show that Musashi is critical for the initiation of early class mRNA translation and for the subsequent activation of CPE-dependant mRNA translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2009.337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824450PMC
January 2010

Function and regulation of the mammalian Musashi mRNA translational regulator.

Biochem Soc Trans 2008 Jun;36(Pt 3):528-30

Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

The evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein, Musashi, regulates neural stem cell self-renewal. Musashi expression is also indicative of stem cell populations in breast and intestinal tissues and is linked to cell overproliferation in cancers of these tissues. Musashi has been primarily implicated as a repressor of target mRNAs in stem cell populations. However, little is known about the mechanism by which Musashi exerts mRNA translational control or how Musashi function is regulated. Recent findings in oocytes of the frog, Xenopus, indicate an unexpected role for Musashi as an activator of a number of maternal mRNAs during meiotic cell cycle progression. Given the importance of Musashi function in stem cell biology and the implications of aberrant Musashi expression in cancer, it is critical that we understand the molecular processes that regulate Musashi function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BST0360528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2562719PMC
June 2008

A novel mRNA 3' untranslated region translational control sequence regulates Xenopus Wee1 mRNA translation.

Dev Biol 2008 May 29;317(2):454-66. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Slot 814, 4301 W. Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

Cell cycle progression during oocyte maturation requires the strict temporal regulation of maternal mRNA translation. The intrinsic basis of this temporal control has not been fully elucidated but appears to involve distinct mRNA 3' UTR regulatory elements. In this study, we identify a novel translational control sequence (TCS) that exerts repression of target mRNAs in immature oocytes of the frog, Xenopus laevis, and can direct early cytoplasmic polyadenylation and translational activation during oocyte maturation. The TCS is functionally distinct from the previously characterized Musashi/polyadenylation response element (PRE) and the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE). We report that TCS elements exert translational repression in both the Wee1 mRNA 3' UTR and the pericentriolar material-1 (Pcm-1) mRNA 3' UTR in immature oocytes. During oocyte maturation, TCS function directs the early translational activation of the Pcm-1 mRNA. By contrast, we demonstrate that CPE sequences flanking the TCS elements in the Wee1 3' UTR suppress the ability of the TCS to direct early translational activation. Our results indicate that a functional hierarchy exists between these distinct 3' UTR regulatory elements to control the timing of maternal mRNA translational activation during oocyte maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.02.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2562724PMC
May 2008

Mos 3' UTR regulatory differences underlie species-specific temporal patterns of Mos mRNA cytoplasmic polyadenylation and translational recruitment during oocyte maturation.

Mol Reprod Dev 2008 Aug;75(8):1258-68

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.

The Mos proto-oncogene is a critical regulator of vertebrate oocyte maturation. The maturation-dependent translation of Mos protein correlates with the cytoplasmic polyadenylation of the maternal Mos mRNA. However, the precise temporal requirements for Mos protein function differ between oocytes of model mammalian species and oocytes of the frog Xenopus laevis. Despite the advances in model organisms, it is not known if the translation of the human Mos mRNA is also regulated by cytoplasmic polyadenylation or what regulatory elements may be involved. We report that the human Mos 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) contains a functional cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE) and demonstrate that the endogenous Mos mRNA undergoes maturation-dependent cytoplasmic polyadenylation in human oocytes. The human Mos 3' UTR interacts with the human CPE-binding protein and exerts translational control on a reporter mRNA in the heterologous Xenopus oocyte system. Unlike the Xenopus Mos mRNA, which is translationally activated by an early acting Musashi/polyadenylation response element (PRE)-directed control mechanism, the translational activation of the human Mos 3' UTR is dependent on a late acting CPE-dependent process. Taken together, our findings suggest a fundamental difference in the 3' UTR regulatory mechanisms controlling the temporal induction of maternal Mos mRNA polyadenylation and translational activation during Xenopus and mammalian oocyte maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrd.20877DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440637PMC
August 2008

Early expression of p107 is associated with 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2002 Aug;194(1-2):51-61

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

In response to hormonal stimulation quiescent 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells reenter the cell cycle and undergo a mitotic expansion phase prior to terminal differentiation. The cell cycle regulatory proteins p130 and p107 undergo dramatic changes in protein levels within 24 h of differentiation. The role of these proteins in regulating adipocyte mitotic clonal expansion and/or differentiation are unclear. It has recently been demonstrated that adipocyte proliferation can be uncoupled from adipocyte differentiation through the use of the pharmacological MEK inhibitor PD98059 or the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, sodium vanadate. We examined the expression of p130 and p107 in stimulated 3T3-L1 cells in the presence of either PD98059, U0126 or sodium vanadate. While inhibition of MEK blocked proliferation, the cells underwent differentiation normally. In contrast, vanadate blocked differentiation without affecting proliferation. Inhibition of MEK did not affect the increase in p107 expression in stimulated cells indicating that induction of p107 is independent of MAP kinase signaling. Vanadate treatment caused a significant delay in p107 expression in the first 24 h following stimulation. Under these conditions, p130 expression was relatively unchanged. Our results indicate that a rapid increase in p107 expression correlates with a commitment to undergo adipocyte differentiation. The data further suggest that the rapid induction of p107 is not required for cellular proliferation during the mitotic clonal expansion phase. Taken together, these findings provide correlative data that implicate p107 in the terminal differentiation, but not proliferation, of quiescent preadipocytes following hormonal stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0303-7207(02)00188-0DOI Listing
August 2002

A novel regulatory element determines the timing of Mos mRNA translation during Xenopus oocyte maturation.

EMBO J 2002 Jun;21(11):2798-806

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham Street Slot 814, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

Progression through vertebrate oocyte maturation requires that pre-existing, maternally derived mRNAs be translated in a strict temporal order. The mechanism that controls the timing of oocyte mRNA translation is unknown. In this study we show that the early translational induction of the mRNA encoding the Mos proto-oncogene is mediated through a novel regulatory element within the 3' untranslated region of the Mos mRNA. This novel element is responsive to the MAP kinase signaling pathway and is distinct from the late acting, cdc2-responsive, cytoplasmic polyadenylation element. Our findings suggest that the timing of maternal mRNA translation is controlled through signal transduction pathways targeting distinct 3' UTR mRNA elements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/emboj/21.11.2798DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC125381PMC
June 2002