The IMP3 RNA-binding protein is associated with metastasis and poor outcome in human cancer. Using solid cancer transcriptome data, we found that IMP3 correlates with HMGA2 mRNA expression. Cytoplasmic IMP3 granules contain HMGA2, and IMP3 dose-dependently increases HMGA2 mRNA. HMGA2 is regulated by let-7, and let-7 antagomiRs make HMGA2 refractory to IMP3. Removal of let-7 target sites eliminates IMP3-dependent stabilization, and IMP3-containing bodies are depleted of Ago1-4 and miRNAs. The relationship between Hmga2 mRNA and IMPs also exists in the developing limb bud, where IMP1-deficient embryos show dose-dependent Hmga2 mRNA downregulation. Finally, IMP3 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) contain other let-7 target mRNAs, including LIN28B, and a global gene set enrichment analysis demonstrates that miRNA-regulated transcripts in general are upregulated following IMP3 induction. We conclude that IMP3 RNPs may function as cytoplasmic safe houses and prevent miRNA-directed mRNA decay of oncogenes during tumor progression.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.