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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jun 25;279(26):27039-49. Epub 2004 Apr 19.

Diversity of vertebrate splicing factor U2AF35: identification of alternatively spliced U2AF1 mRNAS.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1649-028 Lisbon, Portugal.


U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein auxiliary factor small subunit (U2AF(35)) is encoded by a conserved gene designated U2AF1. Here we provide evidence for the existence of alternative vertebrate transcripts encoding different U2AF(35) isoforms. Three mRNA isoforms (termed U2AF(35)a-c) were produced by alternative splicing of the human U2AF1 gene. U2AF(35)c contains a premature stop codon that targets the resulting mRNA to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. U2AF(35)b differs from the previously described U2AF(35)a isoform in 7 amino acids located at the atypical RNA Recognition Motif involved in dimerization with U2AF(65). Biochemical experiments indicate that isoform U2AF(35)b, which has been highly conserved from fish to man, maintains the ability to interact with U2AF(65), stimulates U2AF(65) binding to a pre-mRNA, and promotes U2AF splicing activity in vitro. Real time, quantitative PCR analysis indicates that U2AF(35)a is the most abundant isoform expressed in murine tissues, although the ratio between U2AF(35)a and U2AF(35)b varies from 10-fold in the brain to 20-fold in skeletal muscle. We propose that post-transcriptional regulation of U2AF1 gene expression may provide a mechanism by which the relative cellular concentration and availability of U2AF(35) protein isoforms are modulated, thus contributing to the finely tuned control of splicing events in different tissues.

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