The anti-proliferative activity of BTG/TOB proteins is mediated via the Caf1a (CNOT7) and Caf1b (CNOT8) deadenylase subunits of the Ccr4-not complex

PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051331. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


The human BTG/TOB protein family comprises six members (BTG1, BTG2/PC3/Tis21, BTG3/Ana, BTG4/PC3B, TOB1/Tob, and TOB2) that are characterised by a conserved BTG domain. This domain mediates interactions with the highly similar Caf1a (CNOT7) and Caf1b (CNOT8) catalytic subunits of the Ccr4-Not deadenylase complex. BTG/TOB proteins have anti-proliferative activity: knockdown of BTG/TOB can result in increased cell proliferation, whereas over-expression of BTG/TOB leads to inhibition of cell cycle progression. It was unclear whether the interaction between BTG/TOB proteins and the Caf1a/Caf1b deadenylases is necessary for the anti-proliferative activity of BTG/TOB. To address this question, we further characterised surface-exposed amino acid residues of BTG2 and TOB1 that mediate the interaction with the Caf1a and Caf1b deadenylase enzymes. We then analysed the role of BTG2 and TOB1 in the regulation of cell proliferation, translation and mRNA abundance using a mutant that is no longer able to interact with the Caf1a/Caf1b deadenylases. We conclude that the anti-proliferative activity of BTG/TOB proteins is mediated through interactions with the Caf1a and Caf1b deadenylase enzymes. Furthermore, we show that the activity of BTG/TOB proteins in the regulation of mRNA abundance and translation is dependent on Caf1a/Caf1b, and does not appear to require other Ccr4-Not components, including the Ccr4a (CNOT6)/Ccr4b (CNOT6L) deadenylases, or the non-catalytic subunits CNOT1 or CNOT3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • CNOT8 protein, human
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • TOB1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • BTG2 protein, human
  • CNOT7 protein, human