Knockdown of SLBP results in nuclear retention of histone mRNA

Kelly D. Sullivan, Thomas E. Mullen, William F. Marzluff, Eric J. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Histone mRNAs are the only eukaryotic cellular mRNAs that are not polyadenylated. Synthesis of mature histone mRNA requires only a single processing reaction: an endonucleolytic cleavage between a conserved stem-loop and a purine-rich downstream element to form the 3′ end. The stem-loop binding protein (SLBP) is required for processing, and following processing, histone mRNA is transported to the cytoplasm, where SLBP participates in translation of the histone mRNA and is also involved in regulation of histone mRNA degradation. Here we present an analysis of histone mRNA metabolism in cells with highly reduced levels of SLBP using RNA interference. Knocking down SLBP in U2OS cells results in a reduction in the rate of cell growth and an accumulation of cells in S-phase. Surprisingly, there is only a modest (twofold) decrease in histone mRNA levels. Much of histone mRNA in the SLBP knockdown cells is properly processed but is retained in the nucleus. The processed histone mRNA in SLBP knockdown cells is not rapidly degraded when DNA replication is inhibited. These results suggest a previously undescribed role for SLBP in histone mRNA export.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-472
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • 3′-end formation
  • Histone mRNA
  • MRNA export
  • Stem-loop binding protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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