Rab1b overexpression modifies Golgi size and gene expression in HeLa cells and modulates the thyrotrophin response in thyroid cells in culture.

Molecular biology of the cell

PubMedID: 23325787

Romero N, Dumur CI, Martinez H, García IA, Monetta P, Slavin I, Sampieri L, Koritschoner N, Mironov AA, De Matteis MA, Alvarez C. Rab1b overexpression modifies Golgi size and gene expression in HeLa cells and modulates the thyrotrophin response in thyroid cells in culture. Mol Biol Cell. 2013;24(5):617-32.
Rab1b belongs to the Rab-GTPase family that regulates membrane trafficking and signal transduction systems able to control diverse cellular activities, including gene expression. Rab1b is essential for endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi transport. Although it is ubiquitously expressed, its mRNA levels vary among different tissues. This work aims to characterize the role of the high Rab1b levels detected in some secretory tissues. We report that, in HeLa cells, an increase in Rab1b levels induces changes in Golgi size and gene expression. Significantly, analyses applied to selected genes, KDELR3, GM130 (involved in membrane transport), and the proto-oncogene JUN, indicate that the Rab1b increase acts as a molecular switch to control the expression of these genes at the transcriptional level, resulting in changes at the protein level. These Rab1b-dependent changes require the activity of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and the cAMP-responsive element-binding protein consensus binding site in those target promoter regions. Moreover, our results reveal that, in a secretory thyroid cell line (FRTL5), Rab1b expression increases in response to thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Additionally, changes in Rab1b expression in FRTL5 cells modify the specific TSH response. Our results show, for the first time, that changes in Rab1b levels modulate gene transcription and strongly suggest that a Rab1b increase is required to elicit a secretory response.