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Blood. 2005 Mar 1;105(5):2146-53. Epub 2004 Nov 2.

An erythroid differentiation-specific splicing switch in protein 4.1R mediated by the interaction of SF2/ASF with an exonic splicing enhancer.

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D610, 44 Binney Street, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Protein 4.1R is a vital component of the red blood cell membrane cytoskeleton. Promotion of cytoskeletal junctional complex stability requires an erythroid differentiation stage-specific splicing switch promoting inclusion of exon 16 within the spectrin/actin binding domain. We showed earlier that an intricate combination of positive and negative RNA elements controls exon 16 splicing. In this report, we further identified 3 putative exonic splicing enhancers within exon 16 and investigated the function of the sequence CAGACAT in the regulation of exon 16 splicing. Mutation of these sequences leads to increased exclusion of exon 16 in both in vivo and in vitro splicing assays, indicating that CAGACAT is a functional exonic splicing enhancer. UV cross-linking further detects an approximately 33-kDa protein that specifically binds to the CAGACAT-containing transcript. An anti-SF2/ASF antibody specifically immunoprecipitates the approximately 33-kDa protein. Furthermore, SF2/ASF stimulates exon 16 inclusion in both in vitro complementation assays and minigene-transfected mouse erythroleukemia cells (MELCs). Finally, SF2/ASF expression is up-regulated and correlates with exon 16 inclusion in differentiated MELCs. These results suggest that increased splicing factor 2/alternative splicing factor (SF2/ASF) expression in differentiated mouse erythroleukemia mediates a differentiation stage-specific exon 16 splicing switch through its interaction with the exonic splicing enhancer.

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