Arsenic induces polyadenylation of canonical histone mRNA by downregulating stem-loop binding protein gene expression [Gene Regulation]

September 29th, 2014 by Brocato, J., Fang, L., Chervona, Y., Chen, D., Kiok, K., Sun, H., Tseng, H.-C., Xu, D., Shamy, M., Jin, C., Costa, M.

The replication-dependent histone genes are the only metazoan genes whose messenger RNA (mRNA) does not terminate with a poly(A) tail at the 3' end. Instead, the histone mRNAs display a stem-loop structure at their 3' end. Stem-loop binding protein (SLBP) binds the stem-loop and regulates canonical histone mRNA metabolism. Here we report that exposure to arsenic, a carcinogenic metal, decreases cellular levels of SLBP by inducing its proteasomal degradation and inhibiting SLBP transcription via epigenetic mechanisms. Notably, arsenic exposure dramatically increases polyadenylation of canonical histone H3.1 mRNA possibly through downregulation of SLBP expression. The polyadenylated H3.1 mRNA induced by arsenic is not susceptible to normal degradation that occurs at the end of S phase, resulting in continued presence into mitosis, increased total H3.1 mRNA, and increased H3 protein levels. Excess expression of canonical histones has been shown to increase sensitivity to DNA damage, as well as increase the frequency of missing chromosomes and induce genomic instability. Thus, polyadenylation of canonical histone mRNA following arsenic exposure may contribute to arsenic-induced carcinogenesis.