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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Jul;18(1):80-90.

Regulation of alternative splicing of human tau exon 10 by phosphorylation of splicing factors.

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Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Am Klopferspitz 18a, Martinsried, D-82152, Germany.


Tau is a microtubule-associated protein whose transcript undergoes regulated splicing in the mammalian nervous system. Exon 10 of the gene is an alternatively spliced cassette that is adult-specific and encodes a microtubule-binding domain. Mutations increasing the inclusion of exon 10 result in the production of tau protein which predominantly contains four microtubule-binding repeats and were shown to cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). Here we show that exon 10 usage is regulated by CDC2-like kinases CLK1, 2, 3, and 4 that phosphorylate serine-arginine-rich proteins, which in turn regulate pre-mRNA splicing. Cotransfection experiments suggest that CLKs achieve this effect by releasing specific proteins from nuclear storage sites. Our results show that changing pre-mRNA-processing pathways through phosphorylation could be a new therapeutic concept for tauopathies.

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