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Neurobiol Dis. 2009 Jul;35(1):52-62. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2009.03.015. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Tissue and developmental regulation of fragile X mental retardation 1 exon 12 and 15 isoforms.

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New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Department of Molecular Biology, 1050 Forest Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA.


The pre-mRNA of the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) is subject to exon skipping and alternative splice site selection, which can generate up to 12 isoforms. The expression and function of these variants in vivo has not yet been fully explored. In the present study, we investigated the distribution of Fmr1 exon 12 and exon 15 isoforms. Exon 12 encodes an extension of KH(2) domain, one of the RNA binding domains in the FMR1 gene product (FMRP) and we show that exon 12 variant proteins differentially interact with kissing complex RNA. Alternative splicing at exon 15 produces FMRPs differing in RNA binding ability and each is distinguished by unique post-translational modifications. Using semiquantitative RT-PCR and Northern blotting, we found that particular Fmr1 exon 12 and exon 15 isoforms change during neuronal differentiation. Interestingly, Fmr1 exon 12 variants display tissue-specific and developmental differences, while exon 15-containing transcripts vary less. Altogether, the spatio-temporal plasticity of FMR1 mRNA is consistent with complex RNA processing that is mis-regulated in fragile X syndrome.

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