Apigenin prevents UVB-induced cyclooxygenase 2 expression: Coupled mRNA stabilization and translational inhibition

Xin Tong, Rukiyah T. Van Dross, Adnan Abu-Yousif, Aubrey R. Morrison, Jill C. Pelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) is a key enzyme in the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins, and COX-2 overexpression plays an important role in carcinogenesis. Exposure to UVB strongly increased COX-2 protein expression in mouse 308 keratinocytes, and this induction was inhibited by apigenin, a nonmutagenic bioflavonoid that has been shown to prevent mouse skin carcinogenesis induced by both chemical carcinogens and UV exposure. Our previous study suggested that one pathway by which, apigenin inhibits UV-induced and basal COX-2 expression is through modulation of USF transcriptional activity in the 5′ upstream region of the COX-2 gene. Here, we found that apigenin treatment also increased COX-2 mRNA stability, and the inhibitory effect of apigenin on UVB-induced luciferase reporter gene activity was dependent on the AU-rich element of the COX-2 3′-untranslated region. Furthermore, we identified two RNA-binding proteins, HuR and the T-cell-restricted intracellular antigen I-related protein (TIAR), which were associated with endogenous COX-2 mRNA in 308 keratinocytes, and apigenin treatment increased their localization to cell cytoplasm. More importantly, reduction of HuR levels by small interfering RNA inhibited apigenin-mediated stabilization of COX-2 mRNA. Cells expressing reduced TIAR showed marked resistance to apigenin's ability to inhibit UVB-induced COX-2 expression. Taken together, these results indicate that in addition to transcriptional regulation, another mechanism by which apigenin prevents COX-2 expression is through mediating TIAR suppression of translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-296
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


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