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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 16;277(33):29745-52. Epub 2002 Jun 11.

Distinct sets of adjacent heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A1/A2 binding sites control 5' splice site selection in the hnRNP A1 mRNA precursor.

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Département de Microbiologie et d'Infectiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec J1H 5N4, Canada.


In the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A1 pre-mRNA, different regions in the introns flanking alternative exon 7B have been implicated in the production of the A1 and A1B mRNA splice isoforms. Among these, the CE1a and CE4 elements, located downstream of common exon 7 and alternative exon 7B, respectively, are bound by hnRNP A1 to promote skipping of exon 7B in vivo and distal 5' splice site selection in vitro. Here, we report that CE1a is flanked by an additional high affinity A1 binding site (CE1d). In a manner similar to CE1a, CE1d affects 5' splice site selection in vitro. Consistent with a role for hnRNP A1 in the activity of CE1d, a mutation that abrogates A1 binding abolishes distal 5' splice site activation. Moreover, the ability of CE1d to stimulate distal 5' splice site usage is lost in an HeLa extract depleted of hnRNP A/B proteins, and the addition of recombinant A1 restores the activity of CE1d. Notably, distal 5' splice site selection mediated by A1 binding sites is not compromised in an extract prepared from mouse cells that are severely deficient in hnRNP A1 proteins. In this case, we show that hnRNP A2 compensates for the A1 deficiency. Further studies with the CE4 element reveal that it also consists of two distinct portions (CE4m and CE4p), each one capable of promoting distal 5' splice site use in an hnRNP A1-dependent manner. The presence of multiple A1/A2 binding sites downstream of common exon 7 and alternative exon 7B probably plays an important role in maximizing the activity of hnRNP A1/A2 proteins.

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