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Hum Genet. 2010 Oct;128(4):383-400. doi: 10.1007/s00439-010-0860-1. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Allele-specific recognition of the 3' splice site of INS intron 1.

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  • 1Division of Human Genetics, University of Southampton School of Medicine, MP808, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK.

Abstract

Genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been associated with a chromosome 11 locus centered on the proinsulin gene (INS) and with differential steady-state levels of INS RNA from T1D-predisposing and -protective haplotypes. Here, we show that the haplotype-specific expression is determined by INS variants that control the splicing efficiency of intron 1. The adenine allele at IVS1-6 (rs689), which rapidly expanded in modern humans, renders the 3' splice site of this intron more dependent on the auxiliary factor of U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U2AF). This interaction required both zinc fingers of the 35-kD U2AF subunit (U2AF35) and was associated with repression of a competing 3' splice site in INS exon 2. Systematic mutagenesis of reporter constructs showed that intron 1 removal was facilitated by conserved guanosine-rich enhancers and identified additional splicing regulatory motifs in exon 2. Sequencing of intron 1 in primates revealed that relaxation of its 3' splice site in Hominidae coevolved with the introduction of a short upstream open reading frame, providing a more efficient coupled splicing and translation control. Depletion of SR proteins 9G8 and transformer-2 by RNA interference was associated with exon 2 skipping whereas depletion of SRp20 with increased representation of transcripts containing a cryptic 3' splice site in the last exon. Together, these findings reveal critical interactions underlying the allele-dependent INS expression and INS-mediated risk of T1D and suggest that the increased requirement for U2AF35 in higher primates may hinder thymic presentation of autoantigens encoded by transcripts with weak 3' splice sites.

PMID:
20628762
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2939332
Free PMC Article

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