c-Jun supports ribosomal RNA processing and nucleolar localization of RNA helicase DDX21

J Biol Chem. 2008 Mar 14;283(11):7046-53. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709613200. Epub 2008 Jan 7.


The molecular mechanisms by which the AP-1 transcription factor c-Jun exerts its biological functions are not clearly understood. In addition to its well established role in transcriptional regulation of gene expression, several reports have suggested that c-Jun may also regulate cell behavior by non-transcriptional mechanisms. Here, we report that small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of c-Jun from mammalian cells results in inhibition of 28 S and 18 S rRNA accumulation. Moreover, we show that c-Jun depletion results in partial translocation of RNA helicase DDX21, implicated in rRNA processing, from the nucleolus to the nucleoplasm. We demonstrate that DDX21 translocation is rescued by exogenous c-Jun expression and that c-Jun depletion inhibits rRNA binding of DDX21. Furthermore, the direct interaction between c-Jun and DDX21 regulates nucleolar localization of DDX21. These results demonstrate that in addition to its transcriptional effects, c-Jun regulates rRNA processing and nucleolar compartmentalization of the rRNA processing protein DDX21. Thus, our results demonstrate a nucleolar mechanism through which c-Jun can regulate cell behavior. Moreover, these results suggest that the phenotypes observed previously in c-Jun-depleted mouse models and cell lines could be partly due to the effects of c-Jun on rRNA processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism*
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Biological
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Phenotype
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / physiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism*


  • Peptides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • DDX21 protein, mouse
  • DDX21 protein, human
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases