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Eur J Neurosci. 1999 Mar;11(3):788-802.

Activity-dependent regulation of alternative splicing patterns in the rat brain.

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Max-Planck Institute of Neurobiology, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany.


Alternative splicing plays an important role in the expression of genetic information. Among the best understood alternative splicing factors are transformer and transformer-2, which regulate sexual differentiation in Drosophila. Like the Drosophila genes, the recently identified mammalian homologues are subject to alternative splicing. Using an antibody directed against the major human transformer-2 beta isoform, we show that it has a widespread expression in the rat brain. Pilocarpine-induced neuronal activity changes the alternative splicing pattern of the human transformer-2-beta gene in the brain. After neuronal stimulation, a variant bearing high similarity to a male-specific Drosophila tra-2179 isoform is switched off in the hippocampus and is detectable in the cortex. In addition, the ratio of another short RNA isoform (htra2-beta2) to htra2-beta1 is changed. Htra2-beta2 is not translated into protein, and probably helps to regulate the relative amounts of htra2-beta1 to beta3. We also observe activity-dependent changes in alternative splicing of the clathrin light chain B, c-src and NMDAR1 genes, indicating that the coordinated change of alternative splicing patterns might contribute to molecular plasticity in the brain.

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