(1/4210) 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)

(2/4210) 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)

(3/4210) Rpp14 and Rpp29, two protein subunits of human ribonuclease P.

In HeLa cells, the tRNA processing enzyme ribonuclease P (RNase P) consists of an RNA molecule associated with at least eight protein subunits, hPop1, Rpp14, Rpp20, Rpp25, Rpp29, Rpp30, Rpp38, and Rpp40. Five of these proteins (hPop1p, Rpp20, Rpp30, Rpp38, and Rpp40) have been partially characterized. Here we report on the cDNA cloning and immunobiochemical analysis of Rpp14 and Rpp29. Polyclonal rabbit antibodies raised against recombinant Rpp14 and Rpp29 recognize their corresponding antigens in HeLa cells and precipitate catalytically active RNase P. Rpp29 shows 23% identity with Pop4p, a subunit of yeast nuclear RNase P and the ribosomal RNA processing enzyme RNase MRP. Rpp14, by contrast, exhibits no significant homology to any known yeast gene. Thus, human RNase P differs in the details of its protein composition, and perhaps in the functions of some of these proteins, from the yeast enzyme.  (+info)

(4/4210) Arginine methylation and binding of Hrp1p to the efficiency element for mRNA 3'-end formation.

Hrp1p is a heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is involved in the cleavage and polyadenylation of the 3'-end of mRNAs and mRNA export. In addition, Hrplp is one of several RNA-binding proteins that are posttranslationally modified by methylation at arginine residues. By using functional recombinant Hrp1p, we have identified RNA sequences with specific high affinity binding sites. These sites correspond to the efficiency element for mRNA 3'-end formation, UAUAUA. To examine the effect of methylation on specific RNA binding, purified recombinant arginine methyltransferase (Hmt1p) was used to methylate Hrp1p. Methylated Hrp1p binds with the same affinity to UAUAUA-containing RNAs as unmethylated Hrpl p indicating that methylation does not affect specific RNA binding. However, RNA itself inhibits the methylation of Hrp1p and this inhibition is enhanced by RNAs that specifically bind Hrpl p. Taken together, these data support a model in which protein methylation occurs prior to protein-RNA binding in the nucleus.  (+info)

(5/4210) Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D0B is a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein.

Complement receptor 2 (CR2) is important in the regulation of the B lymphocyte response; the regulation of its expression is therefore of central importance. We recently reported that a 42 kDa heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) is involved in the transcriptional regulation of the human CR2 gene [Tolnay, Lambris and Tsokos (1997) J. Immunol. 159, 5492-5501]. We cloned the cDNA encoding this protein and found it to be identical with hnRNP D0B, a sequence-specific RNA-binding protein. By using a set of mutated oligonucleotides, we demonstrated that the recombinant hnRNP D0B displays sequence specificity for double-stranded oligonucleotide defined by the CR2 promoter. We conducted electrophoretic mobility-shift assays to estimate the apparent Kd of hnRNP D0B for the double-stranded DNA motif and found it to be 59 nM. Interestingly, hnRNP D0B displayed affinities of 28 and 18 nM for the sense and anti-sense strands of the CR2 promoter-defined oligonucleotide respectively. The significantly greater binding affinity of hnRNP D0B for single-stranded DNA than for double-stranded DNA suggests that the protein might melt the double helix. The intranuclear concentration of sequence-specific protein was estimated to be 250-400 nM, indicating that the protein binds to the CR2 promoter in vivo. Co-precipitation of a complex formed in vivo between hnRNP D0B and the TATA-binding protein demonstrates that hnRNP D0B interacts with the basal transcription apparatus. Our results suggest a new physiological role for hnRNP D0B that involves binding to double- and single-stranded DNA sequences in a specific manner and functioning as a transcription factor.  (+info)

(6/4210) Fine specificity of the autoimmune response to the Ro/SSA and La/SSB ribonucleoproteins.

The fine specificity of the Ro and La proteins has been studied by several techniques. In general, there is agreement in a qualitative sense that autoantibodies bind multiple epitopes. For some specific antibody binding, different studies agree quantitatively, for instance, the binding of the carboxyl terminus of 60-kd Ro as described by 2 studies using different techniques and the presence of an epitope within the leucine zipper of 52-kd Ro. In addition, there is general agreement about the location of a prominent epitope at the RRM motif region of the La molecule. On the other hand, the many specific epitope regions of the molecules differ among these studies. These discrepancies are likely the result of using different techniques, sera, and peptide constructs as well as a result of inherent advantages and disadvantages in the individual approaches. Several theories concerning the origin of not only the antibodies, but also the diseases themselves, have been generated from studies of the fine specificity of antibody binding. These include a theory of a primordial foreign antigen for anti-Ro autoimmunity, molecular mimicry with regard to La and CCHB, as well as the association of anti-Ro with HLA. These remain unproven, but are of continuing interest. An explanation for the association of anti-60-kd Ro and anti-52-kd Ro in the sera of patients has sprung from evaluating antibody binding. Data demonstrating multiple epitopes are part of a large body of evidence that strongly suggests an antigen-driven immune response. This means that the autoantigens are directly implicated in initiating and sustaining autoimmunity in their associated diseases. A number of studies have investigated the possibility of differences in the immune response to these antigens in SS and SLE sera. While several differences have been reported, none have been reproduced in a second cohort of patients. Furthermore, none of the reported differences may be sufficiently robust for clinical purposes, such as distinguishing between SS with systemic features and mild SLE, although some might be promising. For instance, in at least 3 groups of SLE patients, no binding of residues spanning amino acids 21-41 of 60-kd Ro has been found. Meanwhile, 1 of those studies found that 41% of sera from patients with primary SS bound the 60-kd Ro peptide 21-41. Perhaps future studies will elaborate a clinical role of such a difference among SS and SLE patients. Study of the epitopes of these autoantigens has, in part, led to a new animal model of anti-Ro and anti-La. Non-autoimmune-prone animals are immunized with proteins or peptides that make up the Ro/La RNP. Such animals develop an autoimmune response to the entire particle, not just the immunogen. This response has been hypothesized to arise from autoreactive B cells. In another, older animal model of disease, the MRL-lpr/lpr mouse, B cells have recently been shown to be required for the generation of abnormal, autoreactive T cells. Thus, there are now powerful data indicating that B cells that produce autoantibodies are directly involved in the pathogenesis of disease above and beyond the formation of immune complexes. Given that the autoreactive B cell is potentially critical to the underlying pathogenesis of disease, then studying these cells will be crucial to further understanding the origin of diseases associated with Ro and La autoimmunity. Hopefully, an increased understanding will eventually lead to improved treatment of patients. Progress in the area of treatment will almost surely be incremental, and studies of the fine specificity of autoantibody binding will be a part of the body of basic knowledge contributing to ultimate advancement. In the future, the animal models will need to be examined with regard to immunology and immunochemistry as well as genetics. The development of these autoantibodies has not been studied extensively because upon presentation to medical care, virtually all patients have a full-  (+info)

(7/4210) Studies on a nonpolysomal ribonucleoprotein coding for myosin heavy chains from chick embryonic muscles.

A messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) particle containing the mRNA coding for the myosin heavy chain (MHC mRNA) has been isolated from the postpolysomal fraction of homogenates of 14-day-old chick embryonic muscles. The mRNP sediments in sucrose gradient as 120 S and has a characteristic buoyant density of 1.415 g/cm3, which corresponds to an RNA:protein ratio of 1:3.8. The RNA isolated from the 120 S particle behaved like authentic MHC mRNA purified from chick embryonic muscles with respect to electrophoretic mobility and ability to program the synthesis of myosin heavy chain in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system as judged by multi-step co-purification of the in vitro products with chick embryonic leg muscle myosin added as carrier. The RNA obtained from the 120 S particle was as effective as purified MHC mRNA in stimulating the synthesis of the complete myosin heavy chains in rabbit reticulocyte lysate under conditions where non-muscle mRNAs had no such effect. Analysis of the protein moieties of the 120 S particle by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis shows the presence of seven distinct polypeptides with apparent molecular weights of 44,000, 49,000, 53,000, 81,000, 83,000, and 98,000, whereas typical ribosomal proteins are absent. These results indicate that the 120 S particles are distinct cellular entities unrelated to ribosomes or initiation complexes. The presence of muscle-specific mRNAs as cytoplasmic mRNPs suggests that these particles may be involved in translational control during myogenesis in embryonic muscles.  (+info)

(8/4210) An evaluation of elongation factor 1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes.

Elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) is a highly conserved ubiquitous protein involved in translation that has been suggested to have desirable properties for phylogenetic inference. To examine the utility of EF-1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes, we studied three properties of EF-1 alpha trees: congruency with other phyogenetic markers, the impact of species sampling, and the degree of substitutional saturation occurring between taxa. Our analyses indicate that the EF-1 alpha tree is congruent with some other molecular phylogenies in identifying both the deepest branches and some recent relationships in the eukaryotic line of descent. However, the topology of the intermediate portion of the EF-1 alpha tree, occupied by most of the protist lineages, differs for different phylogenetic methods, and bootstrap values for branches are low. Most problematic in this region is the failure of all phylogenetic methods to resolve the monophyly of two higher-order protistan taxa, the Ciliophora and the Alveolata. JACKMONO analyses indicated that the impact of species sampling on bootstrap support for most internal nodes of the eukaryotic EF-1 alpha tree is extreme. Furthermore, a comparison of observed versus inferred numbers of substitutions indicates that multiple overlapping substitutions have occurred, especially on the branch separating the Eukaryota from the Archaebacteria, suggesting that the rooting of the eukaryotic tree on the diplomonad lineage should be treated with caution. Overall, these results suggest that the phylogenies obtained from EF-1 alpha are congruent with other molecular phylogenies in recovering the monophyly of groups such as the Metazoa, Fungi, Magnoliophyta, and Euglenozoa. However, the interrelationships between these and other protist lineages are not well resolved. This lack of resolution may result from the combined effects of poor taxonomic sampling, relatively few informative positions, large numbers of overlapping substitutions that obscure phylogenetic signal, and lineage-specific rate increases in the EF-1 alpha data set. It is also consistent with the nearly simultaneous diversification of major eukaryotic lineages implied by the "big-bang" hypothesis of eukaryote evolution.  (+info)