Xiaoling Yang

National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (43)316.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Post-transcriptional gene regulation is robustly regulated by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Here we describe the collection of RNAs regulated by AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1), an RBP linked to cancer, inflammation and aging. Photoactivatable ribonucleoside-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) analysis reveals that AUF1 primarily recognizes U-/GU-rich sequences in mRNAs and noncoding RNAs and influences target transcript fate in three main directions. First, AUF1 lowers the steady-state levels of numerous target RNAs, including long noncoding RNA NEAT1, in turn affecting the organization of nuclear paraspeckles. Second, AUF1 does not change the abundance of many target RNAs, but ribosome profiling reveals that AUF1 promotes the translation of numerous mRNAs in this group. Third, AUF1 unexpectedly enhances the steady-state levels of several target mRNAs encoding DNA-maintenance proteins. Through its actions on target RNAs, AUF1 preserves genomic integrity, in agreement with the AUF1-elicited prevention of premature cellular senescence.
    Nature Communications 11/2014; 5:5248. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins are potent post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. The ncRNA 7SL is upregulated in cancer cells, but its impact upon the phenotype of cancer cells is unknown. Here, we present evidence that 7SL forms a partial hybrid with the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of TP53 mRNA, which encodes the tumor suppressor p53. The interaction of 7SL with TP53 mRNA reduced p53 translation, as determined by analyzing p53 expression levels, nascent p53 translation and TP53 mRNA association with polysomes. Silencing 7SL led to increased binding of HuR to TP53 mRNA, an interaction that led to the promotion of p53 translation and increased p53 abundance. We propose that the competition between 7SL and HuR for binding to TP53 3'UTR contributes to determining the magnitude of p53 translation, in turn affecting p53 levels and the growth-suppressive function of p53. Our findings suggest that targeting 7SL may be effective in the treatment of cancers with reduced p53 levels.
    Nucleic Acids Research 08/2014; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    Cell Reports 06/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian RNA-binding protein AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1, also known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D, hnRNP D) binds to numerous mRNAs and influences their post-transcriptional fate. Given that many AUF1 target mRNAs encode muscle-specific factors, we investigated the function of AUF1 in skeletal muscle differentiation. In mouse C2C12 myocytes, where AUF1 levels rise at the onset of myogenesis and remain elevated throughout myocyte differentiation into myotubes, RIP (RNP immunoprecipitation) analysis indicated that AUF1 binds prominently to Mef2c (myocyte enhancer factor 2c) mRNA, which encodes the key myogenic transcription factor Mef2c. By performing mRNA half-life measurements and polysome distribution analysis, we found that AUF1 associated with the 3' UTR of Mef2c mRNA and promoted Mef2c translation without affecting Mef2c mRNA stability. In addition, AUF1 promoted Mef2c gene transcription via a lesser-known role of AUF1 in transcriptional regulation. Importantly, lowering AUF1 delayed myogenesis, while ectopically restoring Mef2c expression levels partially rescued the impairment of myogenesis seen after reducing AUF1 levels. We propose that Mef2c is a key effector of the myogenesis program promoted by AUF1.
    Molecular and cellular biology. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The primarily neuronal RNA-binding protein HuD is implicated in learning and memory. Here, we report the identification of several HuD target transcripts linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. HuD interacted with the 3' UTRs of APP mRNA (encoding amyloid precursor protein) and BACE1 mRNA (encoding β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1) and increased the half-lives of these mRNAs. HuD also associated with and stabilized the long noncoding (lnc)RNA BACE1AS, which partly complements BACE1 mRNA and enhances BACE1 expression. Consistent with HuD promoting production of APP and APP-cleaving enzyme, the levels of APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and Aβ were higher in the brain of HuD-overexpressing mice. Importantly, cortex (superior temporal gyrus) from patients with AD displayed significantly higher levels of HuD and, accordingly, elevated APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and Aβ than did cortical tissue from healthy age-matched individuals. We propose that HuD jointly promotes the production of APP and the cleavage of its amyloidogenic fragment, Aβ.
    Cell reports. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Although mammalian long non-coding (lnc)RNAs are best known for modulating transcription, their post-transcriptional influence on mRNA splicing, stability and translation is emerging. Here we report a post-translational function for the lncRNA HOTAIR as an inducer of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. HOTAIR associates with E3 ubiquitin ligases bearing RNA-binding domains, Dzip3 and Mex3b, as well as with their respective ubiquitination substrates, Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1. In this manner, HOTAIR facilitates the ubiquitination of Ataxin-1 by Dzip3 and Snurportin-1 by Mex3b in cells and in vitro, and accelerates their degradation. HOTAIR levels are highly upregulated in senescent cells, causing rapid decay of targets Ataxin-1 and Snurportin-1, and preventing premature senescence. These results uncover a role for a lncRNA, HOTAIR, as a platform for protein ubiquitination.
    Nature Communications 12/2013; 4:2939. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In response to stress conditions, many mammalian mRNAs accumulate in stress granules (SGs) together with numerous RNA-binding proteins that control mRNA turnover and translation. However, the signaling cascades that modulate the presence of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes in SGs are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the localization of human antigen R (HuR), an mRNA-stabilizing RNA-binding protein, in SGs following exposure to the stress agent arsenite. Unexpectedly, the mobilization of HuR to SGs was prevented through the activation of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) by the vitamin K3 analog menadione. JAK3 phosphorylated HuR at tyrosine 200, in turn inhibiting HuR localization in SGs, reducing HuR interaction with targets SIRT1 and VHL mRNAs, and accelerating target mRNA decay. Our findings indicate that HuR is tyrosine-phosphorylated by JAK3, and link this modification to HuR subcytoplasmic localization and to the fate of HuR target mRNAs.
    Nucleic Acids Research 10/2013; · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark trait of cellular senescence is the acquisition of a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). SASP factors include cytokines and their receptors (IL-6, IL-8, osteoprotegerin, GM-CSF), chemokines and their ligands (MCP-1, HCC4), and oncogenes (Gro1 and Gro2), many of them encoded by mRNAs whose stability and translation are tightly regulated. Using two models of human fibroblast senescence (WI-38 and IDH4 cells), we report the identification of RNA-binding protein NF90 as a post-transcriptional repressor of several SASP factors. In 'young', proliferating fibroblasts, NF90 was highly abundant, associated with numerous SASP mRNAs, and inhibited their expression. By contrast, senescent cells expressed low levels of NF90, thus allowing SASP factor expression to increase. NF90 elicited these effects mainly by repressing the translation of target SASP mRNAs, since silencing NF90 did not increase the steady-state levels of SASP mRNAs but elevated key SASP factors including MCP-1, GROa, IL-6, and IL-8. Our findings indicate that NF90 contributes to maintaining low levels of SASP factors in non-senescent cells, while NF90 reduction in senescent cells allows SASP factor expression to rise.
    Aging 10/2012; · 4.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) are best known for modulating transcription. Here we report a posttranscriptional function for lincRNA-p21 as a modulator of translation. Association of the RNA-binding protein HuR with lincRNA-p21 favored the recruitment of let-7/Ago2 to lincRNA-p21, leading to lower lincRNA-p21 stability. Under reduced HuR levels, lincRNA-p21 accumulated in human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells, increasing its association with JUNB and CTNNB1 mRNAs and selectively lowering their translation. With elevated HuR, lincRNA-p21 levels declined, which in turn derepressed JunB and β-catenin translation and increased the levels of these proteins. We propose that HuR controls translation of a subset of target mRNAs by influencing lincRNA-p21 levels. Our findings uncover a role for lincRNA as a posttranscriptional inhibitor of translation.
    Molecular cell 07/2012; 47(4):648-55. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The microRNA miR-519 robustly inhibits cell proliferation, in turn triggering senescence and decreasing tumor growth. However, the molecular mediators of miR-519-elicited growth inhibition are unknown. Here, we systematically investigated the influence of miR-519 on gene expression profiles leading to growth cessation in HeLa human cervical carcinoma cells. By analyzing miR-519-triggered changes in protein and mRNA expression patterns and by identifying mRNAs associated with biotinylated miR-519, we uncovered two prominent subsets of miR-519-regulated mRNAs. One subset of miR-519 target mRNAs encoded DNA maintenance proteins (including DUT1, EXO1, RPA2, and POLE4); miR-519 repressed their expression and increased DNA damage, in turn raising the levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p21. The other subset of miR-519 target mRNAs encoded proteins that control intracellular calcium levels (notably, ATP2C1 and ORAI1); their downregulation by miR-519 aberrantly elevated levels of cytosolic [Ca(2+)] storage in HeLa cells, similarly increasing p21 levels in a manner dependent on the Ca(2+)-activated kinases CaMKII and GSK3β. The rises in levels of DNA damage, the Ca(2+) concentration, and p21 levels stimulated an autophagic phenotype in HeLa and other human carcinoma cell lines. As a consequence, ATP levels increased, and the level of activity of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) declined, further contributing to the elevation in the abundance of p21. Our results indicate that miR-519 promotes DNA damage, alters Ca(2+) homeostasis, and enhances energy production; together, these processes elevate the expression level of p21, promoting growth inhibition and cell survival.
    Molecular and cellular biology 04/2012; 32(13):2530-48. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although expression of the mammalian RNA-binding protein HuD was considered to be restricted to neurons, we report that HuD is present in pancreatic β cells, where its levels are controlled by the insulin receptor pathway. We found that HuD associated with a 22-nucleotide segment of the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of preproinsulin (Ins2) mRNA. Modulating HuD abundance did not alter Ins2 mRNA levels, but HuD overexpression decreased Ins2 mRNA translation and insulin production, and conversely, HuD silencing enhanced Ins2 mRNA translation and insulin production. Following treatment with glucose, HuD rapidly dissociated from Ins2 mRNA and enabled insulin biosynthesis. Importantly, HuD-knockout mice displayed higher insulin levels in pancreatic islets, while HuD-overexpressing mice exhibited lower insulin levels in islets and in plasma. In sum, our results identify HuD as a pivotal regulator of insulin translation in pancreatic β cells.
    Molecular cell 02/2012; 45(6):826-35. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cellular abundance of topoisomerase IIα (TOP2A) critically maintains DNA topology after replication and determines the efficacy of TOP2 inhibitors in chemotherapy. Here, we report that the RNA-binding protein HuR, commonly overexpressed in cancers, binds to the TOP2A 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) and increases TOP2A translation. Reducing HuR levels triggered the recruitment of TOP2A transcripts to RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) components and to cytoplasmic processing bodies. Using a novel MS2-tagged RNA precipitation method, we identified microRNA miR-548c-3p as a mediator of these effects and further uncovered that the interaction of miR-548c-3p with the TOP2A 3'UTR repressed TOP2A translation by antagonizing the action of HuR. Lowering TOP2A by silencing HuR or by overexpressing miR-548c-3p selectively decreased DNA damage after treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. In sum, HuR enhances TOP2A translation by competing with miR-548c-3p; their combined actions control TOP2A expression levels and determine the effectiveness of doxorubicin.
    Molecular and cellular biology 07/2011; 31(18):3790-801. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate gene expression at many post-transcriptional levels, including mRNA stability and translation. The RBP nucleolin, with four RNA-recognition motifs, has been implicated in cell proliferation, carcinogenesis and viral infection. However, the subset of nucleolin target mRNAs and the influence of nucleolin on their expression had not been studied at a transcriptome-wide level. Here, we globally identified nucleolin target transcripts, many of which encoded cell growth- and cancer-related proteins, and used them to find a signature motif on nucleolin target mRNAs. Surprisingly, this motif was very rich in G residues and was not only found in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR), but also in the coding region (CR) and 5'-UTR. Nucleolin enhanced the translation of mRNAs bearing the G-rich motif, since silencing nucleolin did not change target mRNA stability, but decreased the size of polysomes forming on target transcripts and lowered the abundance of the encoded proteins. In summary, nucleolin binds G-rich sequences in the CR and UTRs of target mRNAs, many of which encode cancer proteins, and enhances their translation.
    Nucleic Acids Research 07/2011; 39(19):8513-30. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ionizing radiation (IR) triggers adaptive changes in gene expression. Here, we show that survival after IR strongly depends on the checkpoint kinase Chk2 acting upon its substrate HuR, an RNA-binding protein that stabilizes and/or modulates the translation of target mRNAs. Microarray analysis showed that in human HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells (WT), IR-activated Chk2 triggered the dissociation of virtually all of HuR-bound mRNAs, since IR did not dissociate HuR target mRNAs in Chk2-null (CHK2-/-) HCT116 cells. Accordingly, several HuR-interacting mRNAs encoding apoptosis- and proliferation-related proteins (TJP1, Mdm2, TP53BP2, Bax, K-Ras) dissociated from HuR in WT cells, but remained bound and showed altered post-transcriptional regulation in CHK2-/- cells. Use of HuR mutants that were not phosphorylatable by Chk2 (HuR(3A)) and HuR mutants mimicking constitutive phosphorylation by Chk2 (HuR(3D)) revealed that dissociation of HuR target transcripts enhanced cell survival. We propose that the release of HuR-bound mRNAs via an IR-Chk2-HuR regulatory axis improves cell outcome following IR.
    The EMBO Journal 02/2011; 30(6):1040-53. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyloid precursor protein (APP) regulates neuronal synapse function, and its cleavage product Abeta is linked to Alzheimer's disease. Here, we present evidence that the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) C and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) associate with the same APP mRNA coding region element, and they influence APP translation competitively and in opposite directions. Silencing hnRNP C increased FMRP binding to APP mRNA and repressed APP translation, whereas silencing FMRP enhanced hnRNP C binding and promoted translation. Repression of APP translation was linked to colocalization of FMRP and tagged APP RNA within processing bodies; this colocalization was abrogated by hnRNP C overexpression or FMRP silencing. Our findings indicate that FMRP represses translation by recruiting APP mRNA to processing bodies, whereas hnRNP C promotes APP translation by displacing FMRP, thereby relieving the translational block.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 06/2010; 17(6):732-9. · 11.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The RNA-binding protein nuclear factor 90 (NF90) has been implicated in the stabilization, transport and translational control of several target mRNAs. However, a systematic analysis of NF90 target mRNAs has not been performed. Here, we use ribonucleoprotein immunoprecipitation analysis to identify a large subset of NF90-associated mRNAs. Comparison of the 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs) of these mRNAs led to the elucidation of a 25- to 30-nucleotide, RNA signature motif rich in adenines and uracils. Insertion of the AU-rich NF90 motif ('NF90m') in the 3'UTR of an EGFP heterologous reporter did not affect the steady-state level of the chimeric EGFP-NF90m mRNA or its cytosolic abundance. Instead, the translation of EGFP-NF90m mRNA was specifically repressed in an NF90-dependent manner, as determined by analysing nascent EGFP translation, the distribution of chimeric mRNAs on polysome gradients and the steady-state levels of expressed EGFP protein. The interaction of endogenous NF90 with target mRNAs was validated after testing both endogenous mRNAs and recombinant biotinylated transcripts containing NF90 motif hits. Further analysis showed that the stability of endogenous NF90 target mRNAs was not significantly influenced by NF90 abundance, while their translation increased when NF90 levels were reduced. In summary, we have identified an AU-rich RNA motif present in NF90 target mRNAs and have obtained evidence that NF90 represses the translation of this subset of mRNAs.
    Nucleic Acids Research 10/2009; 38(1):225-38. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The RNA-binding protein HuR regulates the stability and translation of numerous mRNAs encoding stress-response and proliferative proteins. Although its post-transcriptional influence has been linked primarily to its cytoplasmic translocation, here we report that moderate heat shock (HS) potently reduces HuR levels, thereby altering the expression of HuR target mRNAs. HS did not change HuR mRNA levels or de novo translation, but instead reduced HuR protein stability. Supporting the involvement of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in this process were results showing that (1) HuR was ubiquitinated in vitro and in intact cells, (2) proteasome inhibition increased HuR abundance after HS, and (3) the HuR kinase checkpoint kinase 2 protected against the loss of HuR by HS. Within a central, HS-labile approximately 110-amino-acid region, K182 was found to be essential for HuR ubiquitination and proteolysis as mutant HuR(K182R) was left virtually unubiquitinated and was refractory to HS-triggered degradation. Our findings reveal that HS transiently lowers HuR by proteolysis linked to K182 ubiquitination and that HuR reduction enhances cell survival following HS.
    The EMBO Journal 04/2009; 28(9):1271-82. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MKK4 (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4) is a pivotal upstream activator of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38. Here, we report that the abundance of MKK4 increases in senescent human diploid fibroblasts through enhanced translation. We identified four microRNAs (miR-15b, miR-24, miR-25, and miR-141) that target the MKK4 messenger RNA (mRNA); the abundance of these microRNAs decreased during replicative senescence. Individually modulating the amount of each microRNA did not modify MKK4 abundance, but their concomitant overexpression decreased and their joint reduction increased MKK4 abundance. Reporter analyses indicated that these microRNAs acted through the MKK4 5' and 3' untranslated regions. Elevated MKK4 abundance inhibited cell proliferation and increased the phosphorylation and activity of p38 and PRAK (p38-regulated/activated protein kinase). Thus, multiple microRNAs acting on a single target, the MKK4 mRNA, collectively influence MKK4 abundance during replicative senescence.
    Science Signaling 01/2009; 2(94):ra69. · 7.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HuR is predominantly nuclear but following exposure to stress and mitogens, it can translocate to the cytoplasm where it stabilizes target mRNAs and/or modulates their translation. Several phosphorylation sites in a central 'hinge" region of HuR have been reported to affect its nucleocytoplasmic shuttle: phosphorylation by PKC at serine (S)221 and by Cdk1 at S202. Here, we investigated if there are additional putative phosphorylation sites within the HuR hinge region capable of influencing its cytoplasmic abundance. We systematically mutated all seven serine residues within the shuttling hinge domain to the nonphosphorylatable residue alanine (A), S197A, S202A, S221A, S229A, S232A, S241A and S242A. Using HeLa cells as the study system, we found that the HuR(S242A) mutant was more abundant in the cytoplasm in both untreated cells and in cells treated with short-wavelength ultraviolet light or with an inhibitor of Cdk1. Conversely, mutation of S242 to aspartic acid (D), rendered the phosphomimetic HuR(S242D) nuclear under all treatment conditions. S242 mutations did not influence HuR stability, but HuR(S242A) showed increased association with target cyclin A2 and cyclin B1 mRNAs. Accordingly, expression of HuR(S242A) led to increased cyclin mRNA stability and heightened cell proliferation rates. Our findings suggest that HuR phosphorylation at S242 hinders its cytoplasmic localization, its function as a posttranscriptional regulator, and its proliferative influence.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 12/2008; 7(21):3371-7. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A predominantly nuclear RNA-binding protein, HuR translocates to the cytoplasm in response to stress and proliferative signals, where it stabilizes or modulates the translation of target mRNAs. Here, we present evidence that HuR phosphorylation at S202 by the G2-phase kinase Cdk1 influences its subcellular distribution. HuR was specifically phosphorylated in synchronous G2-phase cultures; its cytoplasmic levels increased by Cdk1-inhibitory interventions and declined in response to Cdk1-activating interventions. In keeping with the prominently cytoplasmic location of the nonphosphorylatable point mutant HuR(S202A), phospho-HuR(S202) was shown to be predominantly nuclear using a novel anti-phospho-HuR(S202) antibody. The enhanced cytoplasmic presence of unphosphorylated HuR was linked to its decreased association with 14-3-3 and to its heightened binding to target mRNAs. Our findings suggest that Cdk1 phosphorylates HuR during G2, thereby helping to retain it in the nucleus in association with 14-3-3 and hindering its post-transcriptional function and anti-apoptotic influence.
    Genes & Development 08/2008; 22(13):1804-15. · 12.44 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
316.95 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • National Institute on Aging
      • • Laboratory of Genetics (LG)
      • • Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology (LMBI)
      • • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (LCMB)
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2002–2012
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Molecular Biology
      • • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2003–2009
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
      • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2008
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      • Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States