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Thromb Haemost. 2007 Dec;98(6):1309-15.

Alternative splicing of platelet cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA in patients after coronary artery bypass grafting.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmakologie und Klinische Pharmakologie Universitätsklinikum Duesseldorf, Germany.


Recently, we cloned from platelet mRNA a novel cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 splice variant, designated COX-2a, which is characterized by a partial deletion of exon 5. Preliminary studies of mRNA distribution of COX-2 isoforms in platelets from coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) patients showed a variable increase in COX-2a mRNA expression after cardiac surgery. Thus, we assessed whether this variant may play a functional role in these patients. We report a marked (about 200-fold) increase in the expression of COX-2a mRNA after CABG. Evidence is presented that ribosomal frame-shifting may correct the coding sequence resulting in the expression of a full-length COX-2a protein. In addition, a reading frame-corrected COX-2a mutant (COX-2a delta G) was generated by site-directed mutagenesis and expressed in COS-7 cells using an adenoviral expression system. However, COX-2a protein was not active in terms of prostaglandin formation. Thus, alternative mRNA splicing might represent an intriguing posttranscriptional mechanism to oppose a transcriptional activation of the COX-2 gene. Evolutionary, this mechanism may prevent COX-2-dependent thromboxane synthesis in the platelet, which would potentiate the likelihood of thrombosis; pharmacologically, this mechanism would prevent an aspirin-insensitive pathway of thromboxane formation.

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