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Genomics. 2002 Sep;80(3):245-9.

Alternative splicing of brain-specific PTB defines a tissue-specific isoform pattern that predicts distinct functional roles.

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Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Splicing of neural-specific exons is differentially regulated in neuronal and non-neuronal cells. The polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) has been implicated as a negative regulator for exon splicing, whereas the brain-specific homolog of PTB, termed nPTB, promotes exon splicing exclusively in neurons. We have now isolated a novel mRNA splice variant of nPTB from non-neuronal cells. In contrast to the neural nPTB transcript, the expression of this novel isoform was absent from brain tissue and was generated in non-neuronal cells by alternative splicing to include five additional amino acid residues encoded by exon 9. In addition, we identified a brain-specific transcript containing a novel, alternatively spliced, internal exon 10. The exclusion of this 34-nucleotide exon 10 in non-neuronal tissues generates a premature termination codon and results in the truncation of the open reading frame. Our findings suggest that alternative splicing of nPTB has an important role in regulation of tissue-specific gene expression and thus in the functional activity of nPTB in neuronal and non-neuronal cells.

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