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1.  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
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)