Developmental Cytoplasmic-to-Nuclear Translocation of RNA-Binding Protein HuR Is Required for Adult Neurogenesis

Yuhan Wang, Ye Guo, Changyong Tang, Xiu Han, Mingyue Xu, Jing Sun, Yifei Zhao, Yiwen Zhang, Min Wang, Xiaofeng Cao, Xiaojuan Zhu and Weixiang Guo

Cell Reports


Although adult neurogenesis recapitulates processes that occur during embryonic development, it exhibits distinct characteristics from the embryonic counterpart. However, the intrinsic mechanism underlying the differential regulation of neurogenesis between these two stages remains unclear. Herein, we show that the ablation of RNA-binding protein HuR in NSCs impairs adult, but not embryonic, neurogenesis. HuR is predominantly expressed in the cytoplasm of embryonic NSCs but translocates into the nucleus of adult NSCs. Transcriptomic analysis of HuR-deficient adult NSCs revealed that HuR primarily regulates alternative splicing of numerous premRNA transcripts, including focal adhesion kinase (FAK). HuR-deficient adult NSCs generate increased FAK mRNA isoforms with shorter 5’-UTRs, leading to enhanced FAK mRNA translation and hyperactivated FAK signaling, and inhibition of FAK ameliorates defective adult neurogenesis and impaired hippocampus-dependent learning in HuR-deficient mice. Taken together, these findings provide mechanistic insights into the differential regulation of embryonic and adult neurogenesis through developmental cytoplasmic-to-nuclear translocation of HuR.