The human multidrug resistance gene MDR1 encodes a membrane-bound protein, referred to as P-glycoprotein, that acts as a pump to extrude toxins from cells. The 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of the human MDR1 mRNA is very AU-rich (70%) and contains AU-rich sequences similar to those shown to confer rapid decay on c-myc, c-fos, and lymphokine mRNAs. We tested the ability of the MDR1 3'UTR to act as an mRNA destabilizing element in the human hepatoma cell line HepG2. The MDR1 mRNA has an intermediate half-life of 8 h in HepG2 cells compared to a half-life of 30 min for c-myc mRNA. The MDR1 mRNA half-life was prolonged to >20 h upon treatment with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. We constructed expression vectors containing the human beta-globin coding region with the 3'UTR from either MDR1 or c-myc. The c-myc 3'UTR increased the decay of the chimeric mRNA, but the MDR1 3'UTR had no effect. We tested the ability of MDR1 3'UTR sequences to compete for interaction with AU-binding proteins in cell extracts; MDR1 RNA probes had a fivefold lower affinity for AU-binding proteins that interact with the c-myc AU-rich 3'UTR. Overall, our data suggest that the MDR1 3'UTR does not behave as an active destabilizing element in HepG2 cells.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.