Posttranscriptional processing of COX2 mRNA

Messenger RNA once transcribed from DNA, undergoes post-transcriptional processing prior to leaving the nucleus and directing protein synthesis via translation.

It is possible that COX-2 mRNA may be synthesised, but not proceed to formal protein synthesis if destabilized in the cell. Therefore, the association between COX-2 and hormone receptors at mRNA level, may not manifest when COX-2 protein product is investigated. The genomic structure of human COX-2 has been characterised (39, 40), and part of the gene, the 3' untranslated region (UTR) has an important role in post-transcriptional regulation (41). Several factors have been shown to influence the stability of COX-2 mRNA once transcribed. Interleukin-1 can stabilise the highly unstable COX-2 mRNA transcript (42, 43), and steroids may encourage destabilisation (44). There seem to be two major transcript isoforms - COX-246 (4.6kb) and COX-228 (2.8kb). In response to steroids, the shorter COX-228 isoform decays with a longer half-life than the COX-24.6 isoform (45).

Clearly further work is needed to clarify the basis of these findings -concurrent reverse transcriptase-PCR and immunostaining of cancer sections using antibodies directed against COX-2 and relevant hormone receptors could go some way towards answering these questions, but to our knowledge, has not yet been explored in the literature.

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