The GU-rich element (GRE) was identified as a conserved sequence enriched in the 3' UTR of human transcripts that exhibited rapid mRNA turnover. In mammalian cells, binding to GREs by the protein CELF1 coordinates mRNA decay of networks of transcripts involved in cell growth, migration, and apoptosis. Depending on the context, GREs and CELF1 also regulate pre-mRNA splicing and translation. GREs are highly conserved throughout evolution and play important roles in the development of organisms ranging from worms to man. In humans, abnormal GRE-mediated regulation contributes to disease states and cancer. Thus, GREs and CELF proteins serve critical functions in gene expression regulation and define an important evolutionarily conserved posttranscriptional regulatory network.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grant 1R01AI072068 from the National Institutes of Health .