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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Dec;301(6):C1445-57. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00304.2010. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Truncated IRAG variants modulate cGMP-mediated inhibition of human colonic smooth muscle cell contraction.

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II. Medizinische Klinik, Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Ismaninger Strasse 22, Munich, Germany.


Nitric oxide (NO) induces relaxation of colonic smooth muscle cells predominantly by cGMP/cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI)-induced phosphorylation of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP(3)R)-associated cGMP kinase substrate (IRAG), to block store-dependent calcium signaling. In the present study we analyzed the structure and function of the human IRAG/MRVI1 gene. We describe four unique first exon variants transcribed from individual promoters in diverse human tissues. Tissue-specific alternative splicing with exon skipping and alternative splice donor and acceptor site usage further increases diversity of IRAG mRNA variants that encode for NH(2)- and COOH-terminally truncated proteins. At the functional level, COOH-terminally truncated IRAG variants lacking both the cGKI phosphorylation and the IP(3)RI interaction site counteract cGMP-mediated inhibition of calcium transients and relaxation of human colonic smooth muscle cells. Since COOH-terminally truncated IRAG mRNA isoforms are widely expressed in human tissues, our results point to an important role of IRAG variants as negative modulators of nitric oxide/cGKI-dependent signaling. The complexity of alternative splicing of the IRAG gene impressively demonstrates how posttranscriptional processing generates functionally distinct proteins from a single gene.

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