The regulation of cell mass (cell growth) is often tightly coupled to the cell division cycle (cell proliferation). Ribosome biogenesis and the control of rDNA transcription through RNA polymerase I are known to be critical determinants of cell growth. Here we show that granulocytic cells deficient in the c-MYC antagonist MAD1 display increased cell volume, rDNA transcription and protein synthesis. MAD1 repressed and c-MYC activated rDNA transcription in nuclear run-on assays. Repression of rDNA transcription by MAD1 was associated with its ability to interact directly with the promoter of upstream binding factor (UBF), an rDNA regulatory factor. Conversely, c-MYC activated transcription from the UBF promoter. Using siRNA, UBF was shown to be required for c-MYC-induced rDNA transcription. These data demonstrate that MAD1 and c-MYC reciprocally regulate rDNA transcription, providing a mechanism for coordination of ribosome biogenesis and cell growth under conditions of sustained growth inhibition such as granulocyte differentiation.
- RNA polymerase I