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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Apr;39(7):2769-80. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1155. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Identification of MBNL1 and MBNL3 domains required for splicing activation and repression.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) is a splicing regulator that controls developmentally regulated alternative splicing of a large number of exons including exon 11 of the Insulin Receptor (IR) gene and exon 5 of the cardiac Troponin T (cTNT) gene. There are three paralogs of MBNL in humans, all of which promote IR exon 11 inclusion and cTNT exon 5 skipping. Here, we identify a cluster of three binding sequences located downstream of IR exon 11 that constitute the MBNL1 response element and a weaker response element in the upstream intron. In addition, we used sequential deletions to define the functional domains of MBNL1 and MBNL3. We demonstrate that the regions required for splicing regulation are separate from the two pairs of zinc-finger RNA-binding domains. MBNL1 and MBNL3 contain core regulatory regions for both activation and repression located within an 80-amino-acid segment located downstream of the N-terminal zinc-finger pair. Deletions of these regions abolished regulation without preventing RNA binding. These domains have common features with the CUG-BP and ETR3-like Factor (CELF) family of splicing regulators. These results have identified protein domains required for splicing repression and activation and provide insight into the mechanism of splicing regulation by MBNL proteins.

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