Multiple and specific mRNA processing targets for the major human hnRNP proteins.
ABSTRACT Alternative splicing is a key mechanism regulating gene expression, and it is often used to produce antagonistic activities particularly in apoptotic genes. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoparticle (hnRNP) proteins form a family of RNA-binding proteins that coat nascent pre-mRNAs. Many but not all major hnRNP proteins have been shown to participate in splicing control. The range and specificity of hnRNP protein action remain poorly documented, even for those affecting splice site selection. We used RNA interference and a reverse transcription-PCR screening platform to examine the implications of 14 of the major hnRNP proteins in the splicing of 56 alternative splicing events in apoptotic genes. Out of this total of 784 alternative splicing reactions tested in three human cell lines, 31 responded similarly to a knockdown in at least two different cell lines. On the other hand, the impact of other hnRNP knockdowns was cell line specific. The broadest effects were obtained with hnRNP K and C, two proteins whose role in alternative splicing had not previously been firmly established. Different hnRNP proteins affected distinct sets of targets with little overlap even between closely related hnRNP proteins. Overall, our study highlights the potential contribution of all of these major hnRNP proteins in alternative splicing control and shows that the targets for individual hnRNP proteins can vary in different cellular contexts.
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ABSTRACT: Nova proteins are a neuron-specific alternative splicing factors. We have combined bioinformatics, biochemistry and genetics to derive an RNA map describing the rules by which Nova proteins regulate alternative splicing. This map revealed that the position of Nova binding sites (YCAY clusters) in a pre-messenger RNA determines the outcome of splicing. The map correctly predicted Nova's effect to inhibit or enhance exon inclusion, which led us to examine the relationship between the map and Nova's mechanism of action. Nova binding to an exonic YCAY cluster changed the protein complexes assembled on pre-mRNA, blocking U1 snRNP (small nuclear ribonucleoprotein) binding and exon inclusion, whereas Nova binding to an intronic YCAY cluster enhanced spliceosome assembly and exon inclusion. Assays of splicing intermediates of Nova-regulated transcripts in mouse brain revealed that Nova preferentially regulates removal of introns harbouring (or closest to) YCAY clusters. These results define a genome-wide map relating the position of a cis-acting element to its regulation by an RNA binding protein, namely that Nova binding to YCAY clusters results in a local and asymmetric action to regulate spliceosome assembly and alternative splicing in neurons.Nature 12/2006; 444(7119):580-6. · 36.28 Impact Factor