mRNA stability appears to play a key role in the ontogenic regulation of the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter (ASBT). The RNA-binding proteins Hu antigen R (HuR) and tristetraprolin (TTP) stabilize and destabilize ASBT mRNA, respectively. Potential HuR-binding sites were assessed by sequence analysis in the context of prior in vitro functional analyses of the rat ASBT 3'UTR. Wild-type and mutant-binding sites were investigated by gel-shift analysis using IEC-6 cell extracts. The functional consequences of binding site mutations were assessed using two different hybrid reporter constructs linking the 3'UTR element to either a luciferase or a β-globin coding mRNA sequence. A specific metastasis-associated gene 1 (MTA1) cis-element was identified in the ASBT 3'UTR that became associated with proteins in IEC-6 cell extracts and could be supershifted by anti-HuR or anti-TTP antibodies. Mutation of this cis-element abrogated the gel shift of IEC-6 proteins. Furthermore, hybrid constructs containing a mutant MTA1 element had reduced responses to modulation of HuR or TTP. For the first time, we have identified a single specific sequence element in the 3'UTR of the rat ASBT mRNA that mediates counter-regulatory changes in mRNA abundance in response to both HuR and TTP.