Identification of Fhit as a post-transcriptional effector of Thymidine Kinase 1 expression

Daniel L. Kiss, Catherine E. Waters, Iman M. Ouda, Joshua C. Saldivar, Jenna R. Karras, Zaynab A. Amin, Seham Mahrous, Teresa Druck, Ralf A. Bundschuh, Daniel R. Schoenberg, Kay Huebner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


FHIT is a genome caretaker gene that is silenced in > 50% of cancers. Loss of Fhit protein expression promotes accumulation of DNA damage, affects apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition, though molecular mechanisms underlying these alterations have not been fully elucidated. Initiation of genome instability directly follows Fhit loss and the associated reduced Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1) protein expression. The effects on TK1 of Fhit knockdown and Fhit induction in the current study confirmed the role of Fhit in regulating TK1 expression. Changes in Fhit expression did not impact TK1 protein turnover or transcription from the TK1 promoter, nor steady-state levels of TK1 mRNA or turnover. Polysome profile analysis showed that up-regulated Fhit expression resulted in decreased TK1 RNA in non-translating messenger ribonucleoproteins and increased ribosome density on TK1 mRNA. Fhit does not bind RNA but its expression increased luciferase expression from a transgene bearing the TK1 5′-UTR. Fhit has been reported to act as a scavenger decapping enzyme, and a similar result with a mutant (H96) that binds but does not cleave nucleoside 5′,5′-triphosphates suggests the impact on TK1 translation is due to its ability to modulate the intracellular level of cap-like molecules. Consistent with this, cells expressing Fhit mutants with reduced activity toward cap-like dinucleotides exhibit DNA damage resulting from TK1 deficiency, whereas cells expressing wild-type Fhit or the H96N mutant do not. The results have implications for the mechanism by which Fhit regulates TK1 mRNA, and more broadly, for its modulation of multiple functions as tumor suppressor/genome caretaker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 5′-UTR
  • Fhit
  • Thymidine kinase 1
  • Translational control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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