RNA-binding protein RBMS3 is expressed in activated hepatic stellate cells and liver fibrosis and increases expression of transcription factor Prx1

J Mol Biol. 2007 Aug 17;371(3):585-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.06.006. Epub 2007 Jun 9.


Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are mesenchymal cells of the liver, activation of which is responsible for excessive synthesis of extracellular matrix, including type I collagen, and development of liver fibrosis. The activation of HSCs is driven by transcription factors and pair-related homeobox transcription factor Prx1 was identified as one of the transcription factors involved in this process, because transcription of collagen alpha1(I) gene is stimulated by Prx1 in HSCs and in the liver. Here, we show that expression of the RNA-binding protein RBMS3 is upregulated in the activation of HSCs and fibrotic livers. Immunoprecipitation followed by differential display identified Prx1 mRNA as one of the mRNAs interacting with RBMS3. The RBMS3 sequence-specific binding site was mapped to 60 nt located 1946 nt 3' of the stop codon of Prx1 mRNA. Ectopic expression of RBMS3 in quiescent HSCs, which express trace amounts of type I collagen, increased expression of Prx1 mRNA and collagen alpha1(I) mRNA. Expression of reporter Prx1 mRNA containing the RBMS3 binding site was higher than the mRNA lacking this site. Over-expression of RBMS3 further increased the steady-state level of the reporter mRNA-containing RBMS3 binding site, but had no effect on the mRNA lacking this site. Binding of RBMS3 to the Prx1 3' UTR increased the half-life of this mRNA, resulting in increased protein synthesis. These results suggest that RBMS3, by binding Prx1 mRNA in a sequence-specific manner, controls Prx1 expression and indirectly collagen synthesis. This is the first description of the function of RBMS3, as a key regulator of profibrotic potential of HSCs, representing a novel mechanism by which activated HSCs contribute to liver fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Half-Life
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Collagen Type I
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Prrx1 protein, mouse
  • RBMS3 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators