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Mol Cell Biol. Feb 1994; 14(2): 1347–1354.
PMCID: PMC358489

Polypurine sequences within a downstream exon function as a splicing enhancer.


We have previously shown that a purine-rich sequence located within exon M2 of the mouse immunoglobulin mu gene functions as a splicing enhancer, as judged by its ability to stimulate splicing of a distant upstream intron. This sequence element has been designated ERS (exon recognition sequence). In this study, we investigated the stimulatory effects of various ERS-like sequences, using the in vitro splicing system with HeLa cell nuclear extracts. Here, we show that purine-rich sequences of several natural exons that have previously been shown to be required for splicing function as a splicing enhancer like the ERS of the immunoglobulin mu gene. Moreover, even synthetic polypurine sequences had stimulatory effects on the upstream splicing. Evaluation of the data obtained from the analyses of both natural and synthetic purine-rich sequences shows that (i) alternating purine sequences can stimulate splicing, while poly(A) or poly(G) sequences cannot, and (ii) the presence of U residues within the polypurine sequence greatly reduces the level of stimulation. Competition experiments strongly suggest that the stimulatory effects of various purine-rich sequences are mediated by the same trans-acting factor(s). We conclude from these results that the purine-rich sequences that we examined in this study also represent examples of ERS. Thus, ERS is considered a general splicing element that is present in various exons and plays an important role in splice site selection.

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