A novel function for the rTS gene

Cancer Biol Ther. 2003 Jul-Aug;2(4):364-9. doi: 10.4161/cbt.2.4.424.


The rTS gene codes for a naturally occurring antisense RNA to thymidylate synthase (TS) mRNA and two proteins (rTSalpha and rTSbeta). The role of the major protein product of rTS, rTSbeta has been linked to alterations in TS protein expression, but the precise function of rTSbeta is unknown. In this report we demonstrate that increased expression of rTSbeta is associated with the decrease in TS protein expression due to production of novel, diffusible signal molecules. These signal molecules are produced more abundantly when rTSbeta amounts are elevated. This hypothesis is supported by the demonstration that the rTSbeta-overproducing cell line H630-1 can downregulate TS protein in other cells without direct cellular contact. These cells are shown to secrete significant amounts of lipophilic metabolites derived from methionine, in contrast to cells that do not overproduce rTSbeta. In support of the hypothesis that rTSbeta is essential for the generation of these compounds, we demonstrate that rTSbeta can catalyze the transfer of the carboxyl carbon of methionine from S-adenosylmethionine to a lipophilic acceptor molecule in vitro. We propose rTS is involved in regulation of TS through a novel methionine-based signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactones / chemistry
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / metabolism*
  • Thymidylate Synthase / genetics*
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Lactones
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • S-Adenosylmethionine
  • Luciferases
  • Thymidylate Synthase