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author:("Chew, sheen L")
1.  Multiple tandem splicing silencer elements suppress aberrant splicing within the long exon 26 of the human Apolipoprotein B gene 
Apolipoprotein B (APOB) is an integral component of the chylomicron and the atherogenic lipoproteins LDL and Lp(a). Exon 26 of the APOB pre-mRNA is unusually long at 7,572 nt and is constitutively spliced. It is also subject to RNA editing in the intestine, which generates a shortened isoform, APOB48, assembled exclusively into chylomicrons. Due to its length, exon 26 contains multiple pseudo splice sites which are not spliced, but which conform to the degenerate splice site consensus.
We demonstrate that these pseudo splice sites are repressed by multiple, tandem splicing silencers distributed along the length of exon 26. The distribution of these elements appears to be heterogeneous, with a greater frequency in the middle 4,800 nt of the exon.
Repression of these splice sites is key to maintaining the integrity of exon 26 during RNA splicing and therefore the correct expression of both isoforms of APOB.
PMCID: PMC3640928  PMID: 23391187
Apolipoprotein B; RNA splicing; Splicing regulation; Splice sites; Splicing silencers
2.  Antisense oligonucleotide-induced alternative splicing of the APOB mRNA generates a novel isoform of APOB 
Apolipoprotein B (APOB) is an integral part of the LDL, VLDL, IDL, Lp(a) and chylomicron lipoprotein particles. The APOB pre-mRNA consists of 29 constitutively-spliced exons. APOB exists as two natural isoforms: the full-length APOB100 isoform, assembled into LDL, VLDL, IDL and Lp(a) and secreted by the liver in humans; and the C-terminally truncated APOB48, assembled into chylomicrons and secreted by the intestine in humans. Down-regulation of APOB100 is a potential therapy to lower circulating LDL and cholesterol levels.
We investigated the ability of 2'O-methyl RNA antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to induce the skipping of exon 27 in endogenous APOB mRNA in HepG2 cells. These ASOs are directed towards the 5' and 3' splice-sites of exon 27, the branch-point sequence (BPS) of intron 26–27 and several predicted exonic splicing enhancers within exon 27. ASOs targeting either the 5' or 3' splice-site, in combination with the BPS, are the most effective. The splicing of other alternatively spliced genes are not influenced by these ASOs, suggesting that the effects seen are not due to non-specific changes in alternative splicing. The skip 27 mRNA is translated into a truncated isoform, APOB87SKIP27.
The induction of APOB87SKIP27 expression in vivo should lead to decreased LDL and cholesterol levels, by analogy to patients with hypobetalipoproteinemia. As intestinal APOB mRNA editing and APOB48 expression rely on sequences within exon 26, exon 27 skipping should not affect APOB48 expression unlike other methods of down-regulating APOB100 expression which also down-regulate APOB48.
PMCID: PMC1784105  PMID: 17233885
3.  Assembly of splicing complexes on exon 11 of the human insulin receptor gene does not correlate with splicing efficiency in-vitro 
Incorporation of exon 11 of the insulin receptor gene is both developmentally and hormonally-regulated. Previously, we have shown the presence of enhancer and silencer elements that modulate the incorporation of the small 36-nucleotide exon. In this study, we investigated the role of inherent splice site strength in the alternative splicing decision and whether recognition of the splice sites is the major determinant of exon incorporation.
We found that mutation of the flanking sub-optimal splice sites to consensus sequences caused the exon to be constitutively spliced in-vivo. These findings are consistent with the exon-definition model for splicing. In-vitro splicing of RNA templates containing exon 11 and portions of the upstream intron recapitulated the regulation seen in-vivo. Unexpectedly, we found that the splice sites are occupied and spliceosomal complex A was assembled on all templates in-vitro irrespective of splicing efficiency.
These findings demonstrate that the exon-definition model explains alternative splicing of exon 11 in the IR gene in-vivo but not in-vitro. The in-vitro results suggest that the regulation occurs at a later step in spliceosome assembly on this exon.
PMCID: PMC481066  PMID: 15233842
4.  Nucleolar localization of an isoform of the IGF-I precursor 
BMC Cell Biology  2002;3:17.
Alternative exons encode different isoforms of the human insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) precursor without altering mature IGF-I. We hypothesized that the various IGF-I precursors may traffic IGF-I differently. Chimeric IGF-I precursors were made with green fluorescent protein (GFP) cloned between the signal and mature IGF-I domains.
Chimeras containing exons 1 or 2 were located in the cytoplasm, consistent with a secretory pathway, and suggesting that both exons encoded functional signal peptides. Exon 5-containing chimeras localized to the nucleus and strongly to the nucleolus, while chimeras containing exon 6 or the upstream portion of exon 5 did not. Nuclear and nucleolar localization also occurred when the mature IGF-I domain was deleted from the chimeras, or when signal peptides were deleted.
We have identified a nucleolar localization for an isoform of the human IGF-I precursor. The findings are consistent with the presence of a nuclear and nucleolar localization signal situated in the C-terminal part of the exon 5-encoded domain with similarities to signals in several other growth factors.
PMCID: PMC117215  PMID: 12095420
5.  Exonic Splicing Enhancer Motif Recognized by Human SC35 under Splicing Conditions 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(3):1063-1071.
Exonic splicing enhancers (ESEs) are important cis elements required for exon inclusion. Using an in vitro functional selection and amplification procedure, we have identified a novel ESE motif recognized by the human SR protein SC35 under splicing conditions. The selected sequences are functional and specific: they promote splicing in nuclear extract or in S100 extract complemented by SC35 but not by SF2/ASF. They can also function in a different exonic context from the one used for the selection procedure. The selected sequences share one or two close matches to a short and highly degenerate octamer consensus, GRYYcSYR. A score matrix was generated from the selected sequences according to the nucleotide frequency at each position of their best match to the consensus motif. The SC35 score matrix, along with our previously reported SF2/ASF score matrix, was used to search the sequences of two well-characterized splicing substrates derived from the mouse immunoglobulin M (IgM) and human immunodeficiency virus tat genes. Multiple SC35 high-score motifs, but only two widely separated SF2/ASF motifs, were found in the IgM C4 exon, which can be spliced in S100 extract complemented by SC35. In contrast, multiple high-score motifs for both SF2/ASF and SC35 were found in a variant of the Tat T3 exon (lacking an SC35-specific silencer) whose splicing can be complemented by either SF2/ASF or SC35. The motif score matrix can help locate SC35-specific enhancers in natural exon sequences.
PMCID: PMC85223  PMID: 10629063
6.  An exonic splicing silencer in the testes-specific DNA ligase III β exon 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(2):402-410.
Alternative pre-mRNA splicing of two terminal exons (α and β) regulates the expression of the human DNA ligase III gene. In most tissues, the α exon is expressed. In testes and during spermatogenesis, the β exon is used instead. The α exon encodes the interaction domain with a scaffold DNA repair protein, XRCC1, while the β exon-encoded C-terminal does not. Sequence elements regulating the alternative splicing pattern were mapped by in vitro splicing assays in HeLa nuclear extracts. Deletion of a region beginning in the β exon and extending into the downstream intron derepressed splicing to the β exon. Two silencing elements were found within this 101 nt region: a 16 nt exonic splicing silencer immediately upstream of the β exon polyadenylation signal and a 45 nt intronic splicing silencer. The exonic splicing silencer inhibited splicing, even when the polyadenylation signal was deleted or replaced by a 5′ splice site. This element also enhanced polyadenylation under conditions unfavourable to splicing. The splicing silencer partially inhibited assembly of spliceosomal complexes and functioned in an adenoviral pre-mRNA context. Silencing of splicing by the element was associated with cross-linking of a 37 kDa protein to the RNA substrate. The element exerts opposite functions in splicing and polyadenylation.
PMCID: PMC102500  PMID: 10606636

Results 1-6 (6)