Low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) mRNA is unstable, but is stabilized upon extracellular signalregulated kinase (ERK) activation, possibly through the binding of certain proteins to the LDLR mRNA 3′-untranslated region (UTR), although the detailed mechanism underlying this stability control is unclear. Here, using a proteomic approach, we show that proteins ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 specifically bind to the 3′-UTR of LDLR mRNA and recruit the CCR4-NOT-deadenylase complex, resulting in mRNA destabilization. We also show that the C-terminal regions of ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 are directly phosphorylated by p90 ribosomal S6 kinase, a kinase downstream of ERK, resulting in dissociation of the CCR4-NOT-deadenylase complex and stabilization of LDLR mRNA. We further demonstrate that targeted disruption of the interaction between LDLR mRNA and ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 using antisense oligonucleotides results in upregulation of LDLR mRNA and protein. These results indicate that ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 regulate LDLR protein levels downstream of ERK. Our results also show the usefulness of our method for identifying critical regulators of specific RNAs and the potency of antisense oligonucleotide based therapeutics.
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