Cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) is thought to be the rate-limiting enzyme in the arachidonic acid/eicosanoid cascade. The ability of various agonists to increase steady-state cPLA2 mRNA levels has previously been reported. The current study delineates the contributions of transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes to the regulation of cPLA2 gene expression in response to a variety of agonists in cultured rat glomerular mesangial cells. Epidermal growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, serum and phorbol myristate acetate all increase the half-life of cPLA2 mRNA transcripts, indicating a role for post-transcriptional modulation of gene expression. The presence of three ATTTA motifs in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of the rat cPLA2 cDNA is ascertained. Heterologous expression of chimeric constructs with different 3′UTRs ligated into the 3′ end of the luciferase coding region reveals that the presence of the cPLA2 3′UTR results in reduced luciferase activity compared with constructs without the cPLA2 3′UTR. Furthermore, the luciferase activity in the constructs with the cPLA2 3′UTR is increased in response to the same agonists which stabilize endogenous cPLA2 mRNA. A negligible effect of these agonists on transcriptional control of cPLA2 is evident using promoter-reporter constructs expressed in transient and stable transfectants. Taken together, these results indicate predominant post-transcriptional regulation of cPLA2 mRNA levels.

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