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A tetracycline-regulated reporter system was used to investigate the regulation of cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox-2) mRNA stability by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 signaling cascade. The stable beta-globin mRNA was rendered unstable by insertion of the 2, 500-nucleotide Cox-2 3' untranslated region (3' UTR). The chimeric transcript was stabilized by a constitutively active form of MAPK kinase 6, an activator of p38. This stabilization was blocked by SB203580, an inhibitor of p38, and by two different dominant negative forms of MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MAPKAPK-2), a kinase lying downstream of p38. Constitutively active MAPKAPK-2 was also able to stabilize chimeric beta-globin-Cox-2 transcripts. The MAPKAPK-2 substrate hsp27 may be involved in stabilization, as beta-globin-Cox-2 transcripts were partially stabilized by phosphomimetic mutant forms of hsp27. A short (123-nucleotide) fragment of the Cox-2 3' UTR was necessary and sufficient for the regulation of mRNA stability by the p38 cascade and interacted with a HeLa protein immunologically related to AU-rich element/poly(U) binding factor 1.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol cell biol

Publication Date





4265 - 4274


Anti-Bacterial Agents, Base Sequence, Cyclooxygenase 2, HeLa Cells, Humans, Isoenzymes, MAP Kinase Signaling System, Membrane Proteins, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, Molecular Sequence Data, Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases, RNA, Messenger, Signal Transduction, Tetracycline, p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases