MDM2 regulates MYCN mRNA stabilization and translation in human neuroblastoma cells

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The MYCN gene has a critical role in determining the clinical behavior of neuroblastoma. Although it is known that genomic amplification occurs in high-risk subsets, it remains unclear how MYCN expression is regulated in the pathogenesis of neuroblastomas. Here, we report that MYCN expression was regulated by the oncoprotein MDM2 at the post-transcriptional level and was associated with neuroblastoma cell growth. Increasing MDM2 by ectopic overexpression in the cytoplasm enhanced both mRNA and protein expression of MYCN. Mechanistic studies found that the C-terminal RING domain of the MDM2 protein bound to the MYCN mRNA's AREs within the 3′UTR and increased MYCN 3′UTR-mediated mRNA stability and translation. Conversely, MDM2 silencing by specific siRNA rendered the MYCN mRNA unstable and reduced the abundance of the MYCN protein in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines. Importantly, this MDM2 silencing resulted in a remarkable inhibition of neuroblastoma cell growth and induction of cell death through a p53-independent pathway. Our results indicate that MDM2 has a p53-independent role in the regulation of both MYCN mRNA stabilization and its translation, suggesting that MDM2-mediated MYCN expression is one mechanism associated with growth of MYCN-associated neuroblastoma and disease progression.

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