AU-rich elements: characterization and importance in mRNA degradation

Trends Biochem Sci. 1995 Nov;20(11):465-70. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(00)89102-1.


Adenylate/uridylate-rich elements (AREs) are found in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of many messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that code for proto-oncogenes, nuclear transcription factors and cytokines. They represent the most common determinant of RNA stability in mammalian cells. Moreover, ARE-directed mRNA degradation is influenced by many exogenous factors, including phorbol esters, calcium ionophores, cytokines and transcription inhibitors. These observations suggest that AREs play a critical role in the regulation of gene expression during cell growth and differentiation, and in the immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Uracil / chemistry*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Uracil
  • Adenine