Although constitutive activation of β-catenin/Tcf signalling is implicated in the development of human cancers, the mechanisms by which the β-catenin/Tcf pathway promotes tumorigenesis are incompletely understood. Messenger RNA turnover has a major function in regulating gene expression and is responsive to developmental and environmental signals. mRNA decay rates are dictated by cis-acting elements within the mRNA and by trans-acting factors, such as RNA-binding proteins (reviewed in refs 2, 3). Here we show that β-catenin stabilizes the mRNA encoding the F-box protein βTrCP1, and identify the RNA-binding protein CRD-BP (coding region determinant-binding protein) as a previously unknown target of β-catenin/Tcf transcription factor. CRD-BP binds to the coding region of βTrCP1 mRNA. Overexpression of CRD-BP stabilizes βTrCP1 mRNA and elevates βTrCP1 levels (both in cells and in vivo), resulting in the activation of the Skp1-Cullin1-F-box protein (SCF)βTrCP E3 ubiquitin ligase and in accelerated turnover of its substrates including IκB and β-catenin. CRD-BP is essential for the induction of both βTrCP1 and c-Myc by β-catenin signalling in colorectal cancer cells. High levels of CRD-BP that are found in primary human colorectal tumours exhibiting active β-catenin/Tcf signalling implicates CRD-BP induction in the upregulation of βTrCP1, in the activation of dimeric transcription factor NF-κB and in the suppression of apoptosis in these cancers.
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Acknowledgements We thank K. Spiegelman for help with the manuscript preparation. This work was supported by an American Cancer Society Award (to V.S.S.). The work was supported in part by a University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center Pilot Grant and an NCI grant (to S.Y.F.), by NIH grants (to J.R.) and by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Technology and Culture, by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (to T.M.).