Research Papers:

The La protein counteracts cisplatin-induced cell death by stimulating protein synthesis of anti-apoptotic factor Bcl2

Tilman Heise _, Venkatesh Kota, Alexander Brock, Amanda B. Morris, Reycel M. Rodriguez, Avery W. Zierk, Philip H. Howe and Gunhild Sommer

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:29664-29676. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8819

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Tilman Heise1, Venkatesh Kota1, Alexander Brock1, Amanda B. Morris1, Reycel M. Rodriguez1, Avery W. Zierk1, Philip H. Howe1, Gunhild Sommer1

1Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

Correspondence to:

Gunhild Sommer, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: La/SSB, LARP3, RNA-binding protein, cisplatin, mRNA translation

Received: November 13, 2015    Accepted: March 28, 2016    Published: April 18, 2016


Up-regulation of anti-apoptotic factors is a critical mechanism of cancer cell resistance and often counteracts the success of chemotherapeutic treatment. Herein, we identified the cancer-associated RNA-binding protein La as novel factor contributing to cisplatin resistance. Our data demonstrate that depletion of the RNA-binding protein La in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells (HNSCC) increases the sensitivity toward cisplatin-induced cell death paralleled by reduced expression of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl2. Furthermore, it is shown that transient expression of Bcl2 in La-depleted cells protects against cisplatin-induced cell death. By dissecting the underlying mechanism we report herein, that the La protein is required for Bcl2 protein synthesis in cisplatin-treated cells. The RNA chaperone La binds in close proximity to the authentic translation start site and unwinds a secondary structure embedding the authentic AUG. Altogether, our data support a novel model, whereby cancer-associated La protein contributes to cisplatin resistance by stimulating the translation of anti-apoptotic factor Bcl2 in HNSCC cells.

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PII: 8819