Nucleic Acids Research 10 October 2019 | doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz875
Sudheesh A P, Nimmy Mohan, Nimmy Francis, Rakesh S Laishram, Richard A Anderson
Alternative polyadenylation (APA)-mediated 3'-untranslated region (UTR) shortening is known to increase protein expression due to the loss of miRNA regulatory sites. Yet, mRNAs with longer 3'-UTR also show enhanced protein expression. Here, we identify a mechanism by which longer transcripts generated by the distal-most APA site leads to increased protein expression compared to the shorter transcripts and the longer transcripts are positioned to regulate heart failure (HF). A Star-PAP target gene, NQO1 has three poly(A) sites (PA-sites) at the terminal exon on the pre-mRNA. Star-PAP selects the distal-most site that results in the expression of the longest isoform. We show that the NQO1 distal-specific mRNA isoform accounts for the majority of cellular NQO1 protein. Star-PAP control of the distal-specific isoform is stimulated by oxidative stress and the toxin dioxin. The longest NQO1 transcript has increased poly(A) tail (PA-tail) length that accounts for the difference in translation potentials of the three NQO1 isoforms. This mechanism is involved in the regulation of cardiac hypertrophy (CH), an antecedent condition to HF where NQO1 downregulation stems from the loss of the distal-specific transcript. The loss of NQO1 during hypertrophy was rescued by ectopic expression of the distal- but not the proximal- or middle-specific NQO1 mRNA isoforms in the presence of Star-PAP expression, and reverses molecular events of hypertrophy in cardiomyocytes.