Selective degradation of mRNA: the role of short-lived proteins in differential destabilization of insulin-induced creatine phosphokinase and myosin heavy chain mRNAs during rat skeletal muscle L6 cell differentiation.


This investigation concerns the combined effects of removal and readdition of insulin and inhibition of protein and RNA synthesis on the stability of insulin-induced mRNAs during and after differentiation of rat L6A1 myoblast cells in culture. Addition of insulin accompanying the withdrawal of the mitogenic stimulus of serum to myoblasts caused an 80-fold increase in creatine phosphokinase (CK) activity which was largely accounted for by a similar increase in the amount of CK mRNA. The latter was co-ordinately induced with myosin heavy chain (MHC) mRNA but not malic enzyme (ME) mRNA. Measurements of steady-state levels of mRNA showed that removal of insulin caused CK mRNA, but not MHC mRNA, to be rapidly degraded, the effect being reversed upon readdition of the hormone. Direct measurement of 3H-labeled CK, MHC and beta-actin mRNAs confirmed the selective stabilization and destabilization of CK mRNA by the hormone. Conditions were established for a time-window during which cycloheximide (Cx) produced a virtually total arrest of protein synthesis in myotubes that was reversible upon removal of the inhibitor. Under these conditions, Cx selectively prevented the degradation of CK mRNA in a reversible manner. Actinomycin D (Act D) also arrested the loss of this mRNA. Under the same conditions of mRNA stabilization during de-induction, a superinduction of CK mRNA, but not MHC mRNA, was observed if the two inhibitors were added during induction in the continuous presence of insulin. We conclude that a short-lived protein(s), encoded by a short-lived mRNA(s), selectively regulates the stability of reversibly inducible mRNA.

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