Previously, we related fibronectin (Fn1) mRNA translation to an interaction between an AU-rich element in the Fn1 3′ UTR and light chain 3 (LC3) of microtubule-associated proteins 1A and 1B. Since human fibrosarcoma (HT1080) cells produce little fibronectin and LC3, we used these cells to investigate how LC3-mediated Fn1 mRNA translation might alter tumor growth. Transfection of HT1080 cells with LC3 enhanced fibronectin mRNA translation. Using polysome analysis and RNA-binding assays, we show that elevated levels of translation depend on an interaction between a triple arginine motif in LC3 and the AU-rich element in Fn1 mRNA. Wild-type but not mutant LC3 accelerated HT1080 cell growth in culture and when implanted in SCID mice. Comparison of WT LC3 with vector-transfected HT1080 cells revealed increased fibronectin-dependent proliferation, adhesion and invasion. Microarray analysis of genes differentially expressed in WT and vector-transfected control cells indicated enhanced expression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). Using siRNA, we show that enhanced expression of CTGF is fibronectin dependent and that LC3-mediated adhesion, invasion and proliferation are CTGF dependent. Expression profiling of soft tissue tumors revealed increased expression of both LC3 and CTGF in some locally invasive tumor types.
Ying, L., Lau, A., Alvira, C. M., West, R., Cann, G. M., Zhou, B., … Rabinovitch, M. (2009). LC3-mediated fibronectin mRNA translation induces fibrosarcoma growth by increasing connective tissue growth factor. Journal of Cell Science, 122(9), 1441–1451. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.025957