Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) Q1, an RNA-binding protein, has been implicated in many post-transcriptional processes, including RNA metabolism and mRNA splicing and translation. However, the role of hnRNP Q1 in tumorigenesis remains unclear. We previously performed RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP)-seq analysis to identify hnRNP Q1-interacting mRNAs and found that hnRNP Q1 targets a group of genes that are involved in mitotic regulation, including Aurora-A. Here, we demonstrate that altering the hnRNP Q1 level influences the expression of the Aurora-A protein, but not its mRNA. Stimulation with epidermal growth factor (EGF) enhances both binding between hnRNP Q1 and Aurora-A mRNA as well as the efficacy of the hnRNP Q1-induced translation of Aurora-A mRNA. The EGF/hnRNP Q1-induced translation of Aurora-A mRNA is mediated by the mTOR and ERK pathways. In addition, we show that hnRNP Q1 up-regulates the translation of a group of spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) genes. hnRNP Q1 overexpression is positively correlated with the levels of Aurora-A and the SAC genes in human colorectal cancer tissues. In summary, our data suggest that hnRNP Q1 plays an important role in regulating the expression of a group of cell cycle-related genes. Therefore, it may contribute to tumorigenesis by up-regulating the translation of these genes in colorectal cancer.
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