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1.  HnRNP L and hnRNP LL antagonistically modulate PTB-mediated splicing suppression of CHRNA1 pre-mRNA 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2931.
CHRNA1 gene, encoding the muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha subunit, harbors an inframe exon P3A. Inclusion of exon P3A disables assembly of the acetylcholine receptor subunits. A single nucleotide mutation in exon P3A identified in congenital myasthenic syndrome causes exclusive inclusion of exon P3A. The mutation gains a de novo binding affinity for a splicing enhancing RNA-binding protein, hnRNP LL, and displaces binding of a splicing suppressing RNA-binding protein, hnRNP L. The hnRNP L binds to another splicing repressor PTB through the proline-rich region and promotes PTB binding to the polypyrimidine tract upstream of exon P3A, whereas hnRNP LL lacking the proline-rich region cannot bind to PTB. Interaction of hnRNP L with PTB inhibits association of U2AF65 and U1 snRNP with the upstream and downstream of P3A, respectively, which causes a defect in exon P3A definition. HnRNP L and hnRNP LL thus antagonistically modulate PTB-mediated splicing suppression of exon P3A.
PMCID: PMC3796306  PMID: 24121633
2.  Re-splicing of mature mRNA in cancer cells promotes activation of distant weak alternative splice sites 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(16):7896-7906.
Transcripts of the human tumor susceptibility gene 101 (TSG101) are aberrantly spliced in many cancers. A major aberrant splicing event on the TSG101 pre-mRNA involves joining of distant alternative 5′ and 3′ splice sites within exon 2 and exon 9, respectively, resulting in the extensive elimination of the mRNA. The estimated strengths of the alternative splice sites are much lower than those of authentic splice sites. We observed that the equivalent aberrant mRNA could be generated from an intron-less TSG101 gene expressed ectopically in breast cancer cells. Remarkably, we identified a pathway-specific endogenous lariat RNA consisting solely of exonic sequences, predicted to be generated by a re-splicing between exon 2 and exon 9 on the spliced mRNA. Our results provide evidence for a two-step splicing pathway in which the initial constitutive splicing removes all 14 authentic splice sites, thereby bringing the weak alternative splice sites into close proximity. We also demonstrate that aberrant multiple-exon skipping of the fragile histidine triad (FHIT) pre-mRNA in cancer cells occurs via re-splicing of spliced FHIT mRNA. The re-splicing of mature mRNA can potentially generate mutation-independent diversity in cancer transcriptomes. Conversely, a mechanism may exist in normal cells to prevent potentially deleterious mRNA re-splicing events.
PMCID: PMC3439910  PMID: 22675076
3.  HMGA1a Trapping of U1 snRNP at an Authentic 5′ Splice Site Induces Aberrant Exon Skipping in Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(9):2220-2228.
Overexpression of high-mobility group A protein 1a (HMGA1a) causes aberrant exon 5 skipping of the Presenilin-2 (PS2) pre-mRNA, which is almost exclusively detected in patients with sporadic Alzheimer's disease. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay confirmed aberrant U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP)-HMGA1a complex formation (via the U1-70K component), with RNA containing a specific HMGA1a-binding site and an adjacent 5′ splice site. Psoralen cross-linking analysis demonstrated that the binding of HMGA1a adjacent to the 5′ splice site induces unusually extended association of U1 snRNP to the 5′ splice site. As a result, spliceosome assembly across either the intron or the exon is arrested at an early ATP-independent stage. We conclude that the HMGA1a-induced aberrant exon skipping is caused by impaired dissociation of U1 snRNP from the 5′ splice site, leading to a defect in exon definition. The proposed molecular mechanism has profound implications for other known posttranscriptional modulation strategies in various organisms, all of which are triggered by aberrant U1 snRNP binding.
PMCID: PMC2863597  PMID: 20194618
4.  Characterization of RNase R-digested cellular RNA source that consists of lariat and circular RNAs from pre-mRNA splicing 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(8):e63.
Besides linear RNAs, pre-mRNA splicing generates three forms of RNAs: lariat introns, Y-structure introns from trans-splicing, and circular exons through exon skipping. To study the persistence of excised introns in total cellular RNA, we used three Escherichia coli 3′ to 5′ exoribonucleases. Ribonuclease R (RNase R) thoroughly degrades the abundant linear RNAs and the Y-structure RNA, while preserving the loop portion of a lariat RNA. Ribonuclease II (RNase II) and polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) also preserve the lariat loop, but are less efficient in degrading linear RNAs. RNase R digestion of the total RNA from human skeletal muscle generates an RNA pool consisting of lariat and circular RNAs. RT–PCR across the branch sites confirmed lariat RNAs and circular RNAs in the pool generated by constitutive and alternative splicing of the dystrophin pre-mRNA. Our results indicate that RNase R treatment can be used to construct an intronic cDNA library, in which majority of the intron lariats are represented. The highly specific activity of RNase R implies its ability to screen for rare intragenic trans-splicing in any target gene with a large background of cis-splicing. Further analysis of the intronic RNA pool from a specific tissue or cell will provide insights into the global profile of alternative splicing.
PMCID: PMC1458517  PMID: 16682442
5.  Activation of Pre-mRNA Splicing by Human RNPS1 Is Regulated by CK2 Phosphorylation†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(4):1446-1457.
Human RNPS1 was originally characterized as a pre-mRNA splicing activator in vitro and was shown to regulate alternative splicing in vivo. RNPS1 was also identified as a protein component of the splicing-dependent mRNP complex, or exon-exon junction complex (EJC), and a role for RNPS1 in postsplicing processes has been proposed. Here we demonstrate that RNPS1 incorporates into active spliceosomes, enhances the formation of the ATP-dependent A complex, and promotes the generation of both intermediate and final spliced products. RNPS1 is phosphorylated in vivo and interacts with the CK2 (casein kinase II) protein kinase. Serine 53 (Ser-53) of RNPS1 was identified as the major phosphorylation site for CK2 in vitro, and the same site is also phosphorylated in vivo. The phosphorylation status of Ser-53 significantly affects splicing activation in vitro, but it does not perturb the nuclear localization of RNPS1. In vivo experiments indicated that the phosphorylation of RNPS1 at Ser-53 influences the efficiencies of both splicing and translation. We propose that RNPS1 is a splicing regulator whose activator function is controlled in part by CK2 phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC547998  PMID: 15684395
7.  Human RNPS1 and Its Associated Factors: a Versatile Alternative Pre-mRNA Splicing Regulator In Vivo 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(3):1174-1187.
Human RNPS1 was originally purified and characterized as a pre-mRNA splicing activator, and its role in the postsplicing process has also been proposed recently. To search for factors that functionally interact with RNPS1, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen with a human cDNA library. Four factors were identified: p54 (also called SRp54; a member of the SR protein family), human transformer 2β (hTra2β; an exonic splicing enhancer-binding protein), hLucA (a potential component of U1 snRNP), and pinin (also called DRS and MemA; a protein localized in nuclear speckles). The N-terminal region containing the serine-rich (S) domain, the central RNA recognition motif (RRM), and the C-terminal arginine/serine/proline-rich (RS/P) domain of RNPS1 interact with p54, pinin, and hTra2β, respectively. Protein-protein binding between RNPS1 and these factors was verified in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of RNPS1 in HeLa cells induced exon skipping in a model β-globin pre-mRNA and a human tra-2β pre-mRNA. Coexpression of RNPS1 with p54 cooperatively stimulated exon inclusion in an ATP synthase γ-subunit pre-mRNA. The RS/P domain and RRM are necessary for the exon-skipping activity, whereas the S domain is important for the cooperative effect with p54. RNPS1 appears to be a versatile factor that regulates alternative splicing of a variety of pre-mRNAs.
PMCID: PMC321435  PMID: 14729963
8.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 hnRNP A/B-Dependent Exonic Splicing Silencer ESSV Antagonizes Binding of U2AF65 to Viral Polypyrimidine Tracts 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(23):8762-8772.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) exonic splicing silencers (ESSs) inhibit production of certain spliced viral RNAs by repressing alternative splicing of the viral precursor RNA. Several HIV-1 ESSs interfere with spliceosome assembly by binding cellular hnRNP A/B proteins. Here, we have further characterized the mechanism of splicing repression using a representative HIV-1 hnRNP A/B-dependent ESS, ESSV, which regulates splicing at the vpr 3′ splice site. We show that hnRNP A/B proteins bound to ESSV are necessary to inhibit E complex assembly by competing with the binding of U2AF65 to the polypyrimidine tracts of repressed 3′ splice sites. We further show evidence suggesting that U1 snRNP binds the 5′ splice site despite an almost complete block of splicing by ESSV. Possible splicing-independent functions of U1 snRNP-5′ splice site interactions during virus replication are discussed.
PMCID: PMC262674  PMID: 14612416
9.  Exonic Splicing Enhancer-Dependent Selection of the Bovine Papillomavirus Type 1 Nucleotide 3225 3′ Splice Site Can Be Rescued in a Cell Lacking Splicing Factor ASF/SF2 through Activation of the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/Akt Pathway 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(3):2105-2115.
Bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) late pre-mRNAs are spliced in keratinocytes in a differentiation-specific manner: the late leader 5′ splice site alternatively splices to a proximal 3′ splice site (at nucleotide 3225) to express L2 or to a distal 3′ splice site (at nucleotide 3605) to express L1. Two exonic splicing enhancers, each containing two ASF/SF2 (alternative splicing factor/splicing factor 2) binding sites, are located between the two 3′ splice sites and have been identified as regulating alternative 3′ splice site usage. The present report demonstrates for the first time that ASF/SF2 is required under physiological conditions for the expression of BPV-1 late RNAs and for selection of the proximal 3′ splice site for BPV-1 RNA splicing in DT40-ASF cells, a genetically engineered chicken B-cell line that expresses only human ASF/SF2 controlled by a tetracycline-repressible promoter. Depletion of ASF/SF2 from the cells by tetracycline greatly decreased viral RNA expression and RNA splicing at the proximal 3′ splice site while increasing use of the distal 3′ splice site in the remaining viral RNAs. Activation of cells lacking ASF/SF2 through anti-immunoglobulin M-B-cell receptor cross-linking rescued viral RNA expression and splicing at the proximal 3′ splice site and enhanced Akt phosphorylation and expression of the phosphorylated serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins SRp30s (especially SC35) and SRp40. Treatment with wortmannin, a specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt kinase inhibitor, completely blocked the activation-induced activities. ASF/SF2 thus plays an important role in viral RNA expression and splicing at the proximal 3′ splice site, but activation-rescued viral RNA expression and splicing in ASF/SF2-depleted cells is mediated through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway and is associated with the enhanced expression of other SR proteins.
PMCID: PMC140879  PMID: 12525645
10.  ZNF265—a novel spliceosomal protein able to induce alternative splicing 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;154(1):25-32.
The formation of the active spliceosome, its recruitment to active areas of transcription, and its role in pre-mRNA splicing depends on the association of a number of multifunctional serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins. ZNF265 is an arginine/serine-rich (RS) domain containing zinc finger protein with conserved pre-mRNA splicing protein motifs. Here we show that ZNF265 immunoprecipitates from splicing extracts in association with mRNA, and that it is able to alter splicing patterns of Tra2-β1 transcripts in a dose-dependent manner in HEK 293 cells. Yeast two-hybrid analysis and immunoprecipitation indicated interaction of ZNF265 with the essential splicing factor proteins U1-70K and U2AF35. Confocal microscopy demonstrated colocalization of ZNF265 with the motor neuron gene product SMN, the snRNP protein U1-70K, the SR protein SC35, and with the transcriptosomal components p300 and YY1. Transfection of HT-1080 cells with ZNF265–EGFP fusion constructs showed that nuclear localization of ZNF265 required the RS domain. Alignment with other RS domain–containing proteins revealed a high degree of SR dipeptide conservation. These data show that ZNF265 functions as a novel component of the mRNA processing machinery.
PMCID: PMC2196870  PMID: 11448987
zinc finger protein; RS domain; SR proteins; RNA processing; nuclear localization; renin
11.  RNA Splicing at Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 3′ Splice Site A2 Is Regulated by Binding of hnRNP A/B Proteins to an Exonic Splicing Silencer Element 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(18):8487-8497.
The synthesis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) mRNAs is a complex process by which more than 30 different mRNA species are produced by alternative splicing of a single primary RNA transcript. HIV-1 splice sites are used with significantly different efficiencies, resulting in different levels of mRNA species in infected cells. Splicing of Tat mRNA, which is present at relatively low levels in infected cells, is repressed by the presence of exonic splicing silencers (ESS) within the two tat coding exons (ESS2 and ESS3). These ESS elements contain the consensus sequence PyUAG. Here we show that the efficiency of splicing at 3′ splice site A2, which is used to generate Vpr mRNA, is also regulated by the presence of an ESS (ESSV), which has sequence homology to ESS2 and ESS3. Mutagenesis of the three PyUAG motifs within ESSV increases splicing at splice site A2, resulting in increased Vpr mRNA levels and reduced skipping of the noncoding exon flanked by A2 and D3. The increase in Vpr mRNA levels and the reduced skipping also occur when splice site D3 is mutated toward the consensus sequence. By in vitro splicing assays, we show that ESSV represses splicing when placed downstream of a heterologous splice site. A1, A1B, A2, and B1 hnRNPs preferentially bind to ESSV RNA compared to ESSV mutant RNA. Each of these proteins, when added back to HeLa cell nuclear extracts depleted of ESSV-binding factors, is able to restore splicing repression. The results suggest that coordinate repression of HIV-1 RNA splicing is mediated by members of the hnRNP A/B protein family.
PMCID: PMC115094  PMID: 11507194
12.  Selection of Alternative 5′ Splice Sites: Role of U1 snRNP and Models for the Antagonistic Effects of SF2/ASF and hnRNP A1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(22):8303-8318.
The first component known to recognize and discriminate among potential 5′ splice sites (5′SSs) in pre-mRNA is the U1 snRNP. However, the relative levels of U1 snRNP binding to alternative 5′SSs do not necessarily determine the splicing outcome. Strikingly, SF2/ASF, one of the essential SR protein-splicing factors, causes a dose-dependent shift in splicing to a downstream (intron-proximal) site, and yet it increases U1 snRNP binding at upstream and downstream sites simultaneously. We show here that hnRNP A1, which shifts splicing towards an upstream 5′SS, causes reduced U1 snRNP binding at both sites. Nonetheless, the importance of U1 snRNP binding is shown by proportionality between the level of U1 snRNP binding to the downstream site and its use in splicing. With purified components, hnRNP A1 reduces U1 snRNP binding to 5′SSs by binding cooperatively and indiscriminately to the pre-mRNA. Mutations in hnRNP A1 and SF2/ASF show that the opposite effects of the proteins on 5′SS choice are correlated with their effects on U1 snRNP binding. Cross-linking experiments show that SF2/ASF and hnRNP A1 compete to bind pre-mRNA, and we conclude that this competition is the basis of their functional antagonism; SF2/ASF enhances U1 snRNP binding at all 5′SSs, the rise in simultaneous occupancy causing a shift in splicing towards the downstream site, whereas hnRNP A1 interferes with U1 snRNP binding such that 5′SS occupancy is lower and the affinities of U1 snRNP for the individual sites determine the site of splicing.
PMCID: PMC102138  PMID: 11046128
13.  Substrate Specificities of SR Proteins in Constitutive Splicing Are Determined by Their RNA Recognition Motifs and Composite Pre-mRNA Exonic Elements 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(3):1853-1863.
We report striking differences in the substrate specificities of two human SR proteins, SF2/ASF and SC35, in constitutive splicing. β-Globin pre-mRNA (exons 1 and 2) is spliced indiscriminately with either SR protein. Human immunodeficiency virus tat pre-mRNA (exons 2 and 3) and immunoglobulin μ-chain (IgM) pre-mRNA (exons C3 and C4) are preferentially spliced with SF2/ASF and SC35, respectively. Using in vitro splicing with mutated or chimeric derivatives of the tat and IgM pre-mRNAs, we defined specific combinations of segments in the downstream exons, which mediate either positive or negative effects to confer SR protein specificity. A series of recombinant chimeric proteins consisting of domains of SF2/ASF and SC35 in various combinations was used to localize trans-acting domains responsible for substrate specificity. The RS domains of SF2/ASF and SC35 can be exchanged without effect on substrate specificity. The RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) of SF2/ASF are active only in the context of a two-RRM structure, and RRM2 has a dominant role in substrate specificity. In contrast, the single RRM of SC35 can function alone, but its substrate specificity can be influenced by the presence of an additional RRM. The RRMs behave as modules that, when present in different combinations, can have positive, neutral, or negative effects on splicing, depending upon the specific substrate. We conclude that SR protein-specific recognition of specific positive and negative pre-mRNA exonic elements via one or more RRMs is a crucial determinant of the substrate specificity of SR proteins in constitutive splicing.
PMCID: PMC83978  PMID: 10022872

Results 1-13 (13)