HuR promotes myogenesis by stabilizing the MyoD, myogenin and p21 mRNAs during the fusion of muscle cells to form myotubes. Here we show that HuR, via a novel mRNA destabilizing activity, promotes the early steps of myogenesis by reducing the expression of the cell cycle promoter nucleophosmin (NPM). Depletion of HuR stabilizes the NPM mRNA, increases NPM protein levels and inhibits myogenesis, while its overexpression elicits the opposite effects. NPM mRNA destabilization involves the association of HuR with the decay factor KSRP as well as the ribonuclease PARN and the exosome. The C terminus of HuR mediates the formation of the HuR-KSRP complex and is sufficient for maintaining a low level of the NPM mRNA as well as promoting the commitment of muscle cells to myogenesis. We therefore propose a model whereby the downregulation of the NPM mRNA, mediated by HuR, KSRP and its associated ribonucleases, is required for proper myogenesis. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
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