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EMBO J. 2003 Feb 17;22(4):905-12.

A vertebrate RNA-binding protein Fox-1 regulates tissue-specific splicing via the pentanucleotide GCAUG.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma 630-0101, Japan.


Alternative splicing is one of the central mechanisms that regulate eukaryotic gene expression. Here we report a tissue-specific RNA-binding protein, Fox-1, which regulates alternative splicing in vertebrates. Fox-1 bound specifically to a pentanucleotide GCAUG in vitro. In zebrafish and mouse, fox-1 is expressed in heart and skeletal muscles. As candidates for muscle-specific targets of Fox-1, we considered two genes, the human mitochondrial ATP synthase gamma-subunit gene (F1gamma) and the rat alpha-actinin gene, because their primary transcripts contain several copies of GCAUG. In transfection experiments, Fox-1 induced muscle-specific exon skipping of the F1gamma gene via binding to GCAUG sequences upstream of the regulated exon. Fox-1 also regulated mutually exclusive splicing of the alpha-actinin gene, antagonizing the repressive effect of polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB). It has been reported that GCAUG is essential for the alternative splicing regulation of several genes including fibronectin. We found that Fox-1 promoted inclusion of the fibronectin EIIIB exon. Thus, we conclude that Fox-1 plays key roles in both positive and negative regulation of tissue-specific splicing via GCAUG.

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