Inhibiting a mRNA motif binding protein that mediates TGF-1 upregulation of translation attenuates pulmonary fibrosis in mice Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • AbstractIn human lung cells, the profibrotic cytokine TGF-1 increases sialidase 3 (NEU3) protein by increasingNEU3translation without increasing levels ofNEU3mRNA. To elucidate how TGF-1 regulates translation, we treated human lung fibroblasts (HLF) with TGF-1 and used proteomics and RNA-seq to determine the effect of TGF-1 on proteins, mRNAs, and mRNA polysome/monosome ratios. We identified 181 mRNAs where TGF-1 also increases translation to increase protein levels without significantly affecting mRNA levels. These mRNAs share a common 20 nucleotide motif. Deletion or insertion of this motif in mRNAs eliminates or induces the TGF-1 regulation of translation. At least 5 RNA-binding proteins including DDX3 bind the RNA motif, and TGF-1 regulates their protein levels and/or binding to the motif. Inhibiting DDX3, either by siRNA or small molecule inhibitors, reduced TGF-1 induced NEU3 levels. In the mouse bleomycin model of pulmonary fibrosis, injections of the DDX3 inhibitor RK-33 starting 10 days after bleomycin potentiated survival and reduced lung inflammation, fibrosis, and lung tissue levels of DDX3, TGF-1, and NEU3. Together, these results suggest that TGF-1 regulates RNA-binding proteins that interact with a mRNA motif that is necessary and sufficient for TGF-1 to regulate mRNA translation, and that blocking this effect can reduce fibrosis.

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, W., Pilling, D., & Gomer, R. H.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Wensheng||Pilling, Darrell||Gomer, Richard H

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • October 2022