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author:("karki, Rotem")
1.  Regulation of the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR Signalling Pathways by Alternative Splicing in Cancer 
Alternative splicing is a fundamental step in regulation of gene expression of many tumor suppressors and oncogenes in cancer. Signalling through the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR pathways is misregulated and hyperactivated in most types of cancer. However, the regulation of the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR signalling pathways by alternative splicing is less well established. Recent studies have shown the contribution of alternative splicing regulation of these signalling pathways which can lead to cellular transformation, cancer development, and tumor maintenance. This review will discuss findings in the literature which describe new modes of regulation of components of the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR signalling pathways by alternative splicing. We will also describe the mechanisms by which signals from extracellular stimuli can be communicated to the splicing machinery and to specific RNA-binding proteins that ultimately control exon definition events.
PMCID: PMC3775402  PMID: 24078813
2.  A novel Plasmodium falciparum SR protein is an alternative splicing factor required for the parasites’ proliferation in human erythrocytes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(19):9903-9916.
Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle, during which they undergo significant biological changes to adapt to different hosts and changing environments. Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for the deadliest form of human malaria, maintains this complex life cycle with a relatively small number of genes. Alternative splicing (AS) is an important post-transcriptional mechanisms that enables eukaryotic organisms to expand their protein repertoire out of relatively small number of genes. SR proteins are major regulators of AS in higher eukaryotes. Nevertheless, the regulation of splicing as well as the AS machinery in Plasmodium spp. are still elusive. Here, we show that PfSR1, a putative P. falciparum SR protein, can mediate RNA splicing in vitro. In addition, we show that PfSR1 functions as an AS factor in mini-gene in vivo systems similar to the mammalian SR protein SRSF1. Expression of PfSR1-myc in P. falciparum shows distinct patterns of cellular localization during intra erythrocytic development. Furthermore, we determine that the predicted RS domain of PfSR1 is essential for its localization to the nucleus. Finally, we demonstrate that proper regulation of pfsr1 is required for parasite proliferation in human RBCs and over-expression of pfsr1 influences AS activity of P. falciparum genes in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3479193  PMID: 22885299
The splicing-factor oncoprotein SRSF1 (also known as SF2/ASF) is upregulated in breast cancers. We investigated SRSF1’s ability to transform human and mouse mammary epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro. SRSF1-overexpressing COMMA-1D cells formed tumors, following orthotopic transplantation to reconstitute the mammary gland. In 3-D culture, SRSF1-overexpressing MCF-10A cells formed larger acini than control cells, reflecting increased proliferation and delayed apoptosis during acinar morphogenesis. These effects required the first RNA-recognition motif and nuclear functions of SRSF1. SRSF1 overexpression promoted alternative splicing of BIM and BIN1 isoforms that lack pro-apoptotic functions and contribute to the phenotype. Finally, SRSF1 cooperated specifically with MYC to transform mammary epithelial cells, in part by potentiating eIF4E activation, and these cooperating oncogenes are significantly co-expressed in human breast tumors. Thus, SRSF1 can promote breast cancer, and SRSF1 itself or its downstream effectors may be valuable targets for therapeutics development.
PMCID: PMC3272117  PMID: 22245967
4.  Arginine Methylation Controls the Subcellular Localization and Functions of the Oncoprotein Splicing Factor SF2/ASF▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(11):2762-2774.
Alternative splicing and posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are major sources of protein diversity in eukaryotic proteomes. The SR protein SF2/ASF is an oncoprotein that functions in pre-mRNA splicing, with additional roles in other posttranscriptional and translational events. Functional studies of SR protein PTMs have focused exclusively on the reversible phosphorylation of Ser residues in the C-terminal RS domain. We confirmed that human SF2/ASF is methylated at residues R93, R97, and R109, which were identified in a global proteomic analysis of Arg methylation, and further investigated whether these methylated residues regulate the properties of SF2/ASF. We show that the three arginines additively control the subcellular localization of SF2/ASF and that both the positive charge and the methylation state are important. Mutations that block methylation and remove the positive charge result in the cytoplasmic accumulation of SF2/ASF. The consequent decrease in nuclear SF2/ASF levels prevents it from modulating the alternative splicing of target genes, results in higher translation stimulation, and abrogates the enhancement of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. This study addresses the mechanisms by which Arg methylation and the associated positive charge regulate the activities of SF2/ASF and emphasizes the significance of localization control for an oncoprotein with multiple functions in different cellular compartments.
PMCID: PMC2876523  PMID: 20308322
5.  SF2/ASF Autoregulation Involves Multiple Layers of Post-transcriptional and Translational Control 
SF2/ASF is a prototypical SR protein, with important roles in splicing and other aspects of mRNA metabolism. SFRS1 (SF2/ASF) is a potent proto-oncogene with abnormal expression in many tumors. We found that SF2/ASF negatively autoregulates its expression to maintain homeostatic levels. We characterized six SF2/ASF alternatively spliced mRNA isoforms: the major isoform encodes full-length protein, whereas the others are either retained in the nucleus or degraded by NMD. Unproductive splicing accounts for only part of the autoregulation, which occurs primarily at the translational level. The effect is specific to SF2/ASF and requires RRM2. The ultraconserved 3′UTR is necessary and sufficient for downregulation. SF2/ASF overexpression shifts the distribution of target mRNA towards mono-ribosomes, and translational repression is partly independent of Dicer and a 5′ cap. Thus, multiple post-transcriptional and translational mechanisms are involved in fine-tuning the expression of SF2/ASF.
PMCID: PMC2921916  PMID: 20139984
6.  Active Src Elevates the Expression of β-Catenin by Enhancement of Cap-Dependent Translation‡  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(12):5031-5039.
The proto-oncogene pp60c-Src (c-Src) is activated in many types of cancer and contributes to the transformed phenotype of the tumor, although its role is not yet fully understood. Here we report that active Src elevates the levels of β-catenin by enhancing cap-dependent translation. Src induces phosphorylation of the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E via the Ras/Raf/ERK pathway and the phosphorylation of its inhibitor 4E-BP1 via the PI3K/mTOR pathway. Activated Src enhances the accumulation of nuclear β-catenin and enhances its transcriptional activity, elevating target genes such as cyclin D1. This novel activation of the Wnt pathway by Src most probably contributes to the oncogenic phenotype of cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC1140589  PMID: 15923620

Results 1-6 (6)