Beyond regulation of pol III: Role of MAF1 in growth, metabolism, aging and cancer

Shanshan Zhang, Xiaoxing Li, Hui Yun Wang, X. F. Steven Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


MAF1 was discovered as a master repressor of Pol III-dependent transcription in response to diverse extracellular signals, including growth factor, nutrient and stress. It is regulated through posttranslational mechanisms such as phosphorylation. A prominent upstream regulator of MAF1 is the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. mTOR kinase directly phosphorylates MAF1, controlling its localization and transcriptional activity. In mammals, MAF1 has also been shown to regulate Pol I- and Pol II-dependent transcription. Interestingly, MAF1 modulates Pol II activity both as a repressor and activator, depending on specific target genes, to impact on cellular growth and metabolism. While MAF1 represses genes such as TATA-binding protein (TBP) and fatty acid synthase (FASN), it activates the expression of PTEN, a major tumor suppressor and an inhibitor of the mTOR signaling. Increasing evidence indicates that MAF1 plays an important role in different aspects of normal physiology, lifespan and oncogenesis. Here we will review the current knowledge on MAF1 in growth, metabolism, aging and cancer. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: SI: Regulation of tRNA synthesis and modification in physiological conditions and disease edited by Dr. Boguta Magdalena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-343
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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