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Genetics. 1999 Apr;151(4):1517-29.

Trans-acting factors required for inclusion of regulated exons in the Ultrabithorax mRNAs of Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania 15213, USA.


Alternatively spliced Ultrabithorax mRNAs differ by the presence of internal exons mI and mII. Two approaches were used to identify trans-acting factors required for inclusion of these cassette exons. First, mutations in a set of genes implicated in the control of other alternative splicing decisions were tested for dominant effects on the Ubx alternative splicing pattern. To identify additional genes involved in regulation of Ubx splicing, a large collection of deficiencies was tested first for dominant enhancement of the haploinsufficient Ubx haltere phenotype and second for effects on the splicing pattern. Inclusion of the cassette exons in Ubx mRNAs was reduced strongly in heterozygotes for hypomorphic alleles of hrp48, which encodes a member of the hnRNP A/B family and is implicated in control of P-element splicing. Significant reductions of mI and mII inclusion were also observed in heterozygotes for loss-of-function alleles of virilizer, fl(2)d, and crooked neck. The products of virilizer and fl(2)d are also required for Sxl autoregulation at the level of splicing; crooked neck encodes a protein with structural similarities to yeast-splicing factors Prp39p and Prp42p. Deletion of at least five other loci caused significant reductions in the inclusion of mI and/or mII. Possible roles of identified factors are discussed in the context of the resplicing strategy for generation of alternative Ubx mRNAs.

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