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Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Mar;24(5):1855-69.

An intronic enhancer regulates splicing of the twintron of Drosophila melanogaster prospero pre-mRNA by two different spliceosomes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, Connecticut 06536-9812, USA.


We have examined the alternative splicing of the Drosophila melanogaster prospero twintron, which contains splice sites for both the U2- and U12-type spliceosome and generates two forms of mRNA, pros-L (U2-type product) and pros-S (U12-type product). We find that twintron splicing is developmentally regulated: pros-L is abundant in early embryogenesis while pros-S displays the opposite pattern. We have established a Kc cell in vitro splicing system that accurately splices a minimal pros substrate containing the twintron and have examined the sequence requirements for pros twintron splicing. Systematic deletion and mutation analysis of intron sequences established that twintron splicing requires a 46-nucleotide purine-rich element located 32 nucleotides downstream of the U2-type 5' splice site. While this element regulates both splicing pathways, its alteration showed the severest effects on the U2-type splicing pathway. Addition of an RNA competitor containing the wild-type purine-rich element to the Kc extract abolished U2-type splicing and slightly repressed U12-type splicing, suggesting that a trans-acting factor(s) binds the enhancer element to stimulate twintron splicing. Thus, we have identified an intron region critical for prospero twintron splicing as a first step towards elucidating the molecular mechanism of splicing regulation involving competition between the two kinds of spliceosomes.

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