Research Papers:

TAp63γ and ΔNp63γ are regulated by RBM38 via mRNA stability and have an opposing function in growth suppression

Wensheng Yan, Yanhong Zhang and Xinbin Chen _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:78327-78339. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18463

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Wensheng Yan1, Yanhong Zhang1 and Xinbin Chen1

1 The Comparative Oncology Laboratory, Schools of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA

Correspondence to:

Xinbin Chen, email:

Keywords: p63, p63γ, RBM38, RNA binding protein, mRNA stability

Received: April 19, 2017 Accepted: April 23, 2017 Published: June 13, 2017


The p63 gene is expressed as TAp63 from the P1 promoter and as ΔNp63 from the P2 promoter. Through alternative splicing, five TA and five ΔN isoforms (α-ε) are expressed. Isoforms α-β and δ share an identical 3’ untranslated region (3’UTR) whereas isoform γ has a unique 3’UTR. Recently, we found that RBM38 RNA-binding protein is a target of p63 and RBM38 in turn regulates p63α/β expression via mRNA stability. However, it is uncertain whether p63γ has a unique biological activity and whether p63γ is regulated by RBM38. Here, we found that the levels of ΔNp63γ transcript and protein are induced upon overexpression of RBM38 but decreased by RBM38 knockdown. Conversely, we found that the levels of ΔNp63β transcript and protein are decreased by ectopic expression of RBM38 but increased by RBM38 knockdown, consistent with our previous report. Interestingly, RBM38 increases the half-life of p63γ mRNA by binding to a GU-rich element in p63γ 3’UTR. In contrast, our previous studies showed that RBM38 decreases the half-life of p63α/β mRNAs by binding to AU-/U-rich elements in their 3’UTR. We also found that knockout of p63γ in ME180 and HaCaT cells, in which ΔNp63 isoforms are predominant, inhibits cell proliferation and migration, suggesting that ΔNp63γ has a pro-growth activity. In contrast, we found that knockout of TAp63γ in MIA PaCa-2 cells, in which TAp63 isoforms are predominant, promotes cell proliferation, migration, and inhibits cellular senescence. Taken together, we conclude that ΔNp63γ has an oncogenic poten­tial whereas TAp63γ is a tumor suppressor.

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