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1.  Serine Phosphorylation of SR Proteins Is Required for Their Recruitment to Sites of Transcription In Vivo  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1998;143(2):297-307.
Expression of most RNA polymerase II transcripts requires the coordinated execution of transcription, splicing, and 3′ processing. We have previously shown that upon transcriptional activation of a gene in vivo, pre-mRNA splicing factors are recruited from nuclear speckles, in which they are concentrated, to sites of transcription (Misteli, T., J.F. Cáceres, and D.L. Spector. 1997. Nature. 387:523–527). This recruitment process appears to spatially coordinate transcription and pre-mRNA splicing within the cell nucleus. Here we have investigated the molecular basis for recruitment by analyzing the recruitment properties of mutant splicing factors. We show that multiple protein domains are required for efficient recruitment of SR proteins from nuclear speckles to nascent RNA. The two types of modular domains found in the splicing factor SF2/ ASF exert distinct functions in this process. In living cells, the RS domain functions in the dissociation of the protein from speckles, and phosphorylation of serine residues in the RS domain is a prerequisite for this event. The RNA binding domains play a role in the association of splicing factors with the target RNA. These observations identify a novel in vivo role for the RS domain of SR proteins and suggest a model in which protein phosphorylation is instrumental for the recruitment of these proteins to active sites of transcription in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2132840  PMID: 9786943
nucleus; phosphorylation; pre-mRNA splicing; recruitment; transcription
2.  Role of the Modular Domains of SR Proteins in Subnuclear Localization and Alternative Splicing Specificity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;138(2):225-238.
SR proteins are required for constitutive pre-mRNA splicing and also regulate alternative splice site selection in a concentration-dependent manner. They have a modular structure that consists of one or two RNA-recognition motifs (RRMs) and a COOH-terminal arginine/serine-rich domain (RS domain). We have analyzed the role of the individual domains of these closely related proteins in cellular distribution, subnuclear localization, and regulation of alternative splicing in vivo. We observed striking differences in the localization signals present in several human SR proteins. In contrast to earlier studies of RS domains in the Drosophila suppressor-of-white-apricot (SWAP) and Transformer (Tra) alternative splicing factors, we found that the RS domain of SF2/ASF is neither necessary nor sufficient for targeting to the nuclear speckles. Although this RS domain is a nuclear localization signal, subnuclear targeting to the speckles requires at least two of the three constituent domains of SF2/ASF, which contain additive and redundant signals. In contrast, in two SR proteins that have a single RRM (SC35 and SRp20), the RS domain is both necessary and sufficient as a targeting signal to the speckles. We also show that RRM2 of SF2/ASF plays an important role in alternative splicing specificity: deletion of this domain results in a protein that, although active in alternative splicing, has altered specificity in 5′ splice site selection. These results demonstrate the modularity of SR proteins and the importance of individual domains for their cellular localization and alternative splicing function in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2138183  PMID: 9230067

Results 1-2 (2)