Unr (upstream of N-ras) is a post-transcriptional regulator of gene expression, essential for mammalian development and mutated in many human cancers. The expression of unr is itself regulated at many levels; transcription of unr, which also affects expression of the downstream N-ras gene, is tissue and developmental stage-dependent and is repressed by c-Myc and Max (Myc associated factor X). Alternative splicing gives rise to six transcript variants, which include three different 5′-UTRs. The transcripts are further diversified by the use of three alternative polyadenylation signals, which governs whether AU-rich instability elements are present in the 3′-UTR or not. Translation of at least some unr transcripts can occur by internal initiation and is regulated in a cell-cycle-dependent manner; binding of PTB (polypyrimidine tract-binding protein) and Unr to the 5′-UTR inhibits translation, but these are displaced by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins C1/C2 (hnRNPC1/C2) during mitosis to stimulate translation. Finally, Unr is post-translationally modified by phosphorylation and lysine acetylation, although it is not yet known how these modifications affect Unr activity.

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