Jong Heon Kim, Ki Young Paek, Kobong Choi, Tae-Don Kim, Bumsuk Hahm, Kyong-Tai Kim, and Sung Key Jang
National Research Laboratory, Department of Life Science, Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Kyungbuk 790-784, Korea
Received 22 July 2002/ Returned for modification 20 September 2002/ Accepted 11 October 2002
The c-myc proto-oncogene plays a key role in the proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and regulation of the cell cycle. Recently, it was demonstrated that the 5'' nontranslated region (5'' NTR) of human c-myc mRNA contains an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES). In this study, we investigated cellular proteins interacting with the IRES element of c-myc mRNA. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C) was identified as a cellular protein that interacts specifically with a heptameric U sequence in the c-myc IRES located between two alternative translation initiation codons CUG and AUG. Moreover, the addition of hnRNP c3 in an in vitro translation system enhanced translation of c-myc mRNA. Interestingly, hnRNP C was partially relocalized from the nucleus, where most of the hnRNP C resides at interphase, to the cytoplasm at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Coincidently, translation mediated through the c-myc IRES was increased at the G2/M phase when cap-dependent translation was partially inhibited. On the other hand, a mutant c-myc mRNA lacking the hnRNP C-binding site, showed a decreased level of translation at the G2/M phase compared to that of the wild-type message. Taken together, these findings suggest that hnRNP C, via IRES binding, modulates translation of c-myc mRNA in a cell cycle phase-dependent manner.