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Nat Chem Biol. 2007 Sep;3(9):576-83. Epub 2007 Jul 22.

Spliceostatin A targets SF3b and inhibits both splicing and nuclear retention of pre-mRNA.

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Chemical Genetics Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


The removal of intervening sequences from transcripts is catalyzed by the spliceosome, a multicomponent complex that assembles on the newly synthesized pre-mRNA. Pre-mRNA translation in the cytoplasm leads to the generation of aberrant proteins that are potentially harmful. Therefore, tight control to prevent undesired pre-mRNA export from the nucleus and its subsequent translation is an essential requirement for reliable gene expression. Here, we show that the natural product FR901464 (1) and its methylated derivative, spliceostatin A (2), inhibit in vitro splicing and promote pre-mRNA accumulation by binding to SF3b, a subcomplex of the U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein in the spliceosome. Importantly, treatment of cells with these compounds resulted in leakage of pre-mRNA to the cytoplasm, where it was translated. Knockdown of SF3b by small interfering RNA induced phenotypes similar to those seen with spliceostatin A treatment. Thus, the inhibition of pre-mRNA splicing during early steps involving SF3b allows unspliced mRNA leakage and translation.

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