Mammalian Pum1 and Pum2 Control Body Size via Translational Regulation of the Cell Cycle Inhibitor Cdkn1b

Kaibo Lin, Wenan Qiang, Mengyi Zhu, Yan Ding, Qinghua Shi, Xia Chen, Emese Zsiros, Kun Wang, Xiaodi Yang, Takeshi Kurita, Eugene Yujun Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Body and organ size regulation in mammals involves multiple signaling pathways and remains largely enigmatic. Here, we report that Pum1 and Pum2, which encode highly conserved PUF RNA-binding proteins, regulate mouse body and organ size by post-transcriptional repression of the cell cycle inhibitor Cdkn1b. Binding of PUM1 or PUM2 to Pumilio binding elements (PBEs) in the 3′ UTR of Cdkn1b inhibits translation, promoting G1-S transition and cell proliferation. Mice with null mutations in Pum1 and Pum2 exhibit gene dosage-dependent reductions in body and organ size, and deficiency for Cdkn1b partially rescues postnatal growth defects in Pum1 −/− mice. We propose that coordinated tissue-specific expression of Pum1 and Pum2, which involves auto-regulatory and reciprocal post-transcriptional repression, contributes to the precise regulation of body and organ size. Hence PUM-mediated post-transcriptional control of cell cycle regulators represents an additional layer of control in the genetic regulation of organ and body size. Lin et al. show that the RNA-binding proteins PUM1 and PUM2 regulate translation of cell cycle proteins such as CDKN1B by binding to their 3′ UTR and achieve precise control of organ and body size in a gene dosage-sensitive manner via auto and reciprocal gene expression regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2434-2450.e6
JournalCell reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 26 2019


  • Cdkn1b
  • G1S
  • PUF
  • PUM
  • body size
  • cell cycle
  • growth regulator
  • organ size
  • post-transcriptional regulation
  • translational control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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