(1/14753) Tight binding of the 5' exon to domain I of a group II self-splicing intron requires completion of the intron active site.

Group II self-splicing requires the 5' exon to form base pairs with two stretches of intronic sequence (EBS1 and EBS2) which also bind the DNA target during retrotransposition of the intron. We have used dimethyl sulfate modification of bases to obtain footprints of the 5' exon on intron Pl.LSU/2 from the mitochondrion of the alga Pylaiella littoralis, as well as on truncated intron derivatives. Aside from the EBS sites, which are part of the same subdomain (ID) of ribozyme secondary structure, three distant adenines become either less or more sensitive to modification in the presence of the exon. Unexpectedly, one of these adenines in subdomain IC1 is footprinted only in the presence of the distal helix of domain V, which is involved in catalysis. While the loss of that footprint is accompanied by a 100-fold decrease in the affinity for the exon, both protection from modification and efficient binding can be restored by a separate domain V transcript, whose binding results in its own, concise footprint on domains I and III. Possible biological implications of the need for the group II active site to be complete in order to observe high-affinity binding of the 5' exon to domain I are discussed.  (+info)

(2/14753) A premature termination codon interferes with the nuclear function of an exon splicing enhancer in an open reading frame-dependent manner.

Premature translation termination codon (PTC)-mediated effects on nuclear RNA processing have been shown to be associated with a number of human genetic diseases; however, how these PTCs mediate such effects in the nucleus is unclear. A PTC at nucleotide (nt) 2018 that lies adjacent to the 5' element of a bipartite exon splicing enhancer within the NS2-specific exon of minute virus of mice P4 promoter-generated pre-mRNA caused a decrease in the accumulated levels of P4-generated R2 mRNA relative to P4-generated R1 mRNA, although the total accumulated levels of P4 product remained the same. This effect was seen in nuclear RNA and was independent of RNA stability. The 5' and 3' elements of the bipartite NS2-specific exon enhancer are redundant in function, and when the 2018 PTC was combined with a deletion of the 3' enhancer element, the exon was skipped in the majority of the viral P4-generated product. Such exon skipping in response to a PTC, but not a missense mutation at nt 2018, could be suppressed by frame shift mutations in either exon of NS2 which reopened the NS2 open reading frame, as well as by improvement of the upstream intron 3' splice site. These results suggest that a PTC can interfere with the function of an exon splicing enhancer in an open reading frame-dependent manner and that the PTC is recognized in the nucleus.  (+info)

(3/14753) Selection and characterization of pre-mRNA splicing enhancers: identification of novel SR protein-specific enhancer sequences.

Splicing enhancers are RNA sequences required for accurate splice site recognition and the control of alternative splicing. In this study, we used an in vitro selection procedure to identify and characterize novel RNA sequences capable of functioning as pre-mRNA splicing enhancers. Randomized 18-nucleotide RNA sequences were inserted downstream from a Drosophila doublesex pre-mRNA enhancer-dependent splicing substrate. Functional splicing enhancers were then selected by multiple rounds of in vitro splicing in nuclear extracts, reverse transcription, and selective PCR amplification of the spliced products. Characterization of the selected splicing enhancers revealed a highly heterogeneous population of sequences, but we identified six classes of recurring degenerate sequence motifs five to seven nucleotides in length including novel splicing enhancer sequence motifs. Analysis of selected splicing enhancer elements and other enhancers in S100 complementation assays led to the identification of individual enhancers capable of being activated by specific serine/arginine (SR)-rich splicing factors (SC35, 9G8, and SF2/ASF). In addition, a potent splicing enhancer sequence isolated in the selection specifically binds a 20-kDa SR protein. This enhancer sequence has a high level of sequence homology with a recently identified RNA-protein adduct that can be immunoprecipitated with an SRp20-specific antibody. We conclude that distinct classes of selected enhancers are activated by specific SR proteins, but there is considerable sequence degeneracy within each class. The results presented here, in conjunction with previous studies, reveal a remarkably broad spectrum of RNA sequences capable of binding specific SR proteins and/or functioning as SR-specific splicing enhancers.  (+info)

(4/14753) Substrate specificities of SR proteins in constitutive splicing are determined by their RNA recognition motifs and composite pre-mRNA exonic elements.

We report striking differences in the substrate specificities of two human SR proteins, SF2/ASF and SC35, in constitutive splicing. beta-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 mu-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.  (+info)

(5/14753) Identification of DNA polymorphisms associated with the V type alpha1-antitrypsin gene.

alpha1-Antitrypsin (alpha1-AT) is a highly polymorphic protein. The V allele of alpha1-AT has been shown to be associated with focal glomerulosclerosis (FGS) in Negroid and mixed race South African patients. To identify mutations and polymorphisms in the gene for the V allele of alpha1-AT in five South African patients with FGS nephrotic syndrome DNA sequence analysis and restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the coding exons were carried out. Four of the patients were heterozygous for the BstEII RFLP in exon III [M1(Val213)(Ala213)] and one patient was a M1(Ala213) homozygote. The mutation for the V allele was identified in exon II as Gly-148 (GGG)-->Arg (AGG) and in all patients was associated with a silent mutation at position 158 (AAC-->AAT). The patient who was homozygous for (Ala213) also had a silent mutation at position 256 in exon III (GAT-->GAC) which was not present in any of the other four patients. Although the V allele of alpha1-AT is not associated with severe plasma deficiency, it may be in linkage disequilibrium with other genes on chromosome 14 that predispose to FGS. Furthermore, the associated silent mutation at position 158 and the Ala213 polymorphism are of interest, as these could represent an evolutionary intermediate between the M1(Ala213) and M1(Val213) subtypes.  (+info)

(6/14753) Promoter and exon-intron structure of the protein kinase C gene from the marine sponge Geodia cydonium: evolutionary considerations and promoter activity.

We report the gene structure of a key signaling molecule from a marine sponge, Geodia cydonium. The selected gene, which codes for a classical protein kinase C (cPKC), comprises 13 exons and 12 introns; the introns are, in contrast to those found in cPKC from higher Metazoa, small in size ranging from 93 nt to 359 nt. The complete gene has a length of 4229 nt and contains exons which encode the characteristic putative regulatory and catalytic domains of metazoan cPKCs. While in the regulatory domain only one intron is in phase 0, in the catalytic domain most introns are phase 0 introns, suggesting that the latter only rarely undergo module duplication. The 5'-flanking sequence of the sponge cPKC gene contains a TATA-box like motif which is located 35-26 nt upstream from the start of the longest sequenced cDNA. This 5'-flanking sequence was analyzed for promoter activity. The longest fragment (538 nt) was able to drive the expression of luciferase in transient transfections of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts; the strong activity of the sponge promoter was found to be half the one displayed by the SV40 reference promoter. Deletion analysis demonstrates that the AP4 site and the GC box which is most adjacent to the TATA box are the crucial elements for maximal promoter activity. The activity of the promoter is not changed in 3T3 cells which are kept serum starved or in the presence of a phorbol ester. In conclusion, these data present the phylogenetically oldest cPKC gene which contains in the 5'-flanking region a promoter functional in the heterologous mammalian cell system.  (+info)

(7/14753) Expression of novel alternatively spliced isoforms of the oct-1 transcription factor.

Analysis of the alternatively spliced isoforms of the human and mouse oct-1 genes, combined with their exon-intron structure, show a high level of evolutionary conservation between these two species. The differential expression of several oct-1 isoforms was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction performed on the 3' region of the murine oct-1 cDNA. Variations in the relative levels and patterns of expression of the isoforms were found among different tissues. Three novel isoforms originating from the 3'-distal region of oct-1, were isolated and sequenced: Two were derived from testis, and one from myeloma cells. Splicing out of different exons as revealed in the structure of these isoforms results in reading frameshifts that presumably lead to the expression of shortened Oct-1 proteins, with distinct C-terminal tails. Altogether, six out of the eight known murine oct-1 isoforms may have distinct C-termini, implying that these multiple tails have different functional roles in cellular differentiation and physiology.  (+info)

(8/14753) The alphaE-catenin gene (CTNNA1) acts as an invasion-suppressor gene in human colon cancer cells.

The acquisition of invasiveness is a crucial step in the malignant progression of cancer. In cancers of the colon and of other organs the E-cadherin/catenin complex, which is implicated in homotypic cell-cell adhesion as well as in signal transduction, serves as a powerful inhibitor of invasion. We show here that one allele of the alphaE-catenin (CTNNA1) gene is mutated in the human colon cancer cell family HCT-8, which is identical to HCT-15, DLD-1 and HRT-18. Genetic instability, due to mutations in the HMSH6 (also called GTBP) mismatch repair gene, results in the spontaneous occurrence of invasive variants, all carrying either a mutation or exon skipping in the second alphaE-catenin allele. The alphaE-catenin gene is therefore, an invasion-suppressor gene in accordance with the two-hit model of Knudsen for tumour-suppressor genes.  (+info)