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(1/3761) Deletion of a region that is a candidate for the difference between the deletion forms of hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin and deltabeta-thalassemia affects beta- but not gamma-globin gene expression.

The analysis of a number of cases of beta-globin thalassemia and hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) due to large deletions in the beta-globin locus has led to the identification of several DNA elements that have been implicated in the switch from human fetal gamma- to adult beta-globin gene expression. We have tested this hypothesis for an element that covers the minimal distance between the thalassemia and HPFH deletions and is thought to be responsible for the difference between a deletion HPFH and deltabeta-thalassemia, located 5' of the delta-globin gene. This element has been deleted from a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) containing the complete human beta-globin locus. Analysis of this modified YAC in transgenic mice shows that early embryonic expression is unaffected, but in the fetal liver it is subject to position effects. In addition, the efficiency of transcription of the beta-globin gene is decreased, but the developmental silencing of the gamma-globin genes is unaffected by the deletion. These results show that the deleted element is involved in the activation of the beta-globin gene perhaps through the loss of a structural function required for gene activation by long-range interactions.  (+info)

(2/3761) The splicing factor-associated protein, p32, regulates RNA splicing by inhibiting ASF/SF2 RNA binding and phosphorylation.

The cellular protein p32 was isolated originally as a protein tightly associated with the essential splicing factor ASF/SF2 during its purification from HeLa cells. ASF/SF2 is a member of the SR family of splicing factors, which stimulate constitutive splicing and regulate alternative RNA splicing in a positive or negative fashion, depending on where on the pre-mRNA they bind. Here we present evidence that p32 interacts with ASF/SF2 and SRp30c, another member of the SR protein family. We further show that p32 inhibits ASF/SF2 function as both a splicing enhancer and splicing repressor protein by preventing stable ASF/SF2 interaction with RNA, but p32 does not block SRp30c function. ASF/SF2 is highly phosphorylated in vivo, a modification required for stable RNA binding and protein-protein interaction during spliceosome formation, and this phosphorylation, either through HeLa nuclear extracts or through specific SR protein kinases, is inhibited by p32. Our results suggest that p32 functions as an ASF/SF2 inhibitory factor, regulating ASF/SF2 RNA binding and phosphorylation. These findings place p32 into a new group of proteins that control RNA splicing by sequestering an essential RNA splicing factor into an inhibitory complex.  (+info)

(3/3761) 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)

(4/3761) A new alkali-resistant hemoglobin alpha2J Oxford gammaF2 in a Sicilian baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia.

A 10-mo-old baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia and alphaJOxford, presenting the clinical picture of homozygous beta thalassemia is described. Hemoglobin electrophoresis showed three bands: the first two with the mobilities of hemoglobin Hb A2 (1%) and Hb F (69%), respectively, the third migrating a little faster than Hb A (30%). About 30% of her alpha chains were J Oxford which, bound to her gamma chains, produced a new alkali-resistant hemoglobin, alpha2 J Oxford gamma F2, which has not been described previously. Hemoglobin synthesis in vitro showed the absence of beta chain synthesis and an alpha/non-alpha ratio of 2. The patient's father was heterozygous for both the Hb J Oxford and beta0 thalassemia genes, the mother a carrier of beta0 thalassemia; four other relatives were carriers of Hb J Oxford, and one was a carrier of beta thalassemia.  (+info)

(5/3761) The identification of ferritin in the nucleus of K562 cells, and investigation of a possible role in the transcriptional regulation of adult beta-globin gene expression.

We studied the subcellular distribution of ferritin in K562 cells by immunofluorescence techniques and have made a reappraisal of a direct binding interaction between ferritin and the proximal promoter region of the human beta-globin gene, as previously mentioned in the literature. Confocal microscopy indicates that ferritin, the iron-storage protein, is present in the nucleus of K562 cells, in addition to its expected cytoplasmic localisation. The stain distribution suggests that it is not directly associated with the nuclear matrix. Using a gel mobility shift assay, a protein that cross-reacts with monoclonal ferritin antibodies competitively binds to a double-stranded oligonucleotide spanning the region situated 150 base pairs upstream from the beta-globin transcription start site. Despite this antibody cross-reactivity, the protein is unlike cytosolic ferritin as it appears to be highly sensitive to both temperature and freeze-thaw cycles, and UV-crosslinking experiments indicate that the molecular mass of the protein factor lies between 90 and 100 kDa. In conclusion, while the intranuclear location of ferritin is described in the present study, ferritin is not in direct contact with the beta-globin promoter region.  (+info)

(6/3761) Pre-mRNA splicing of IgM exons M1 and M2 is directed by a juxtaposed splicing enhancer and inhibitor.

Splicing of certain pre-mRNA introns is dependent on an enhancer element, which is typically purine-rich. It is generally thought that enhancers increase the use of suboptimal splicing signals, and one specific proposal is that enhancers stabilize binding of U2AF65 to weak polypyrimidine (Py) tracts. Here, we test this model using an IgM pre-mRNA substrate, which contains a well-characterized enhancer. Although the enhancer was required for in vitro splicing, we found it had no effect on U2AF65 binding. Unexpectedly, replacement of the natural IgM Py tract, branchpoint, and 5' splice site with consensus splicing signals did not circumvent the enhancer requirement. These observations led us to identify a novel regulatory element within the IgM M2 exon that acts as a splicing inhibitor; removal of the inhibitor enabled splicing to occur in the absence of the enhancer. The IgM M2 splicing inhibitor is evolutionarily conserved, can inhibit the activity of an unrelated, constitutively spliced pre-mRNA, and acts by repressing splicing complex assembly. Interestingly, the inhibitor itself forms an ATP-dependent complex that contains U2 snRNP. We conclude that splicing of IgM exons M1 and M2 is directed by two juxtaposed regulatory elements-an enhancer and an inhibitor-and that a primary function of the enhancer is to counteract the inhibitor.  (+info)

(7/3761) Identification of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor as a target in intercellular regulation of epidermal basal cell growth by suprabasal retinoic acid receptors.

The role of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) in intercellular regulation of cell growth was assessed by targeting a dominant-negative RARalpha mutant (dnRARalpha) to differentiated suprabasal cells of mouse epidermis. dnRARalpha lacks transcriptional activation but not DNA-binding and receptor dimerization functions. Analysis of transgenic mice revealed that dnRARalpha dose-dependently impaired induction of basal cell proliferation and epidermal hyperplasia by all-trans RA (tRA). dnRARalpha formed heterodimers with endogenous retinoid X receptor-alpha (RXRalpha) over RA response elements in competition with remaining endogenous RARgamma-RXRalpha heterodimers, and dose-dependently impaired retinoid-dependent gene transcription. To identify genes regulated by retinoid receptors and involved in cell growth control, we analyzed the retinoid effects on expression of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor, EGF, transforming growth factor-alpha, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and amphiregulin genes. In normal epidermis, tRA rapidly and selectively induced expression of HB-EGF but not the others. This induction occurred exclusively in suprabasal cells. In transgenic epidermis, dnRARalpha dose-dependently inhibited tRA induction of suprabasal HB-EGF and subsequent basal cell hyperproliferation. Together, our observations suggest that retinoid receptor heterodimers located in differentiated suprabasal cells mediate retinoid induction of HB-EGF, which in turn stimulates basal cell growth via intercellular signaling. These events may underlie retinoid action in epidermal regeneration during wound healing.  (+info)

(8/3761) Intronless mRNA transport elements may affect multiple steps of pre-mRNA processing.

We have reported recently that a small element within the mouse histone H2a-coding region permits efficient cytoplasmic accumulation of intronless beta-globin cDNA transcripts. This sequence lowers the levels of spliced products from intron-containing constructs and can functionally replace Rev and the Rev-responsive element (RRE) in the nuclear export of unspliced HIV-1-related mRNAs. In work reported here, we further investigate the molecular mechanisms by which this element might work. We demonstrate here through both in vivo and in vitro assays that, in addition to promoting mRNA nuclear export, this element acts as a polyadenylation enhancer and as a potent inhibitor of splicing. Surprisingly, two other described intronless mRNA transport elements (from the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene and hepatitis B virus) appear to function in a similar manner. These findings prompt us to suggest that a general feature of intronless mRNA transport elements might be a collection of phenotypes, including the inhibition of splicing and the enhancement of both polyadenylation and mRNA export.  (+info)