By using RNA-immunoprecipitation assay following next-generation sequencing, a group of cell cycle-related genes targeted by hnRNP Q1 were identified, including Aurora-A kinase. Overexpressed hnRNP Q1 can upregulate Aurora-A protein, but not alter the mRNA level, through enhancing the translational efficiency of Aurora-A mRNA, either in a cap-dependent or -independent manner, by interacting with the 5'-UTR of Aurora-A mRNA through its RNA-binding domains (RBDs) 2 and 3. By ribosomal profiling assay further confirmed the translational regulation of Aurora-A mRNA by hnRNP Q1. Overexpression of hnRNP Q1 promotes cell proliferation and tumor growth. HnRNP Q1/ΔRBD23-truncated mutant, which loses the binding ability and translational regulation of Aurora-A mRNA, has no effect on promoting tumor growth. The expression level of hnRNP Q1 is positively correlated with Aurora-A in colorectal cancer. Taken together, our data indicate that hnRNP Q1 is a novel trans-acting factor that binds to Aurora-A mRNA 5'-UTRs and regulates its translation, which increases cell proliferation and contributes to tumorigenesis in colorectal cancer.
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