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Plant Cell. 2012 Aug;24(8):3278-95. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

SKIP is a component of the spliceosome linking alternative splicing and the circadian clock in Arabidopsis.

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National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing 102206, China.


Circadian clocks generate endogenous rhythms in most organisms from cyanobacteria to humans and facilitate entrainment to environmental diurnal cycles, thus conferring a fitness advantage. Both transcriptional and posttranslational mechanisms are prominent in the basic network architecture of circadian systems. Posttranscriptional regulation, including mRNA processing, is emerging as a critical step for clock function. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms linking RNA metabolism to the circadian clock network. Here, we report that a conserved SNW/Ski-interacting protein (SKIP) domain protein, SKIP, a splicing factor and component of the spliceosome, is involved in posttranscriptional regulation of circadian clock genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mutation in SKIP lengthens the circadian period in a temperature-sensitive manner and affects light input and the sensitivity of the clock to light resetting. SKIP physically interacts with the spliceosomal splicing factor Ser/Arg-rich protein45 and associates with the pre-mRNA of clock genes, such as PSEUDORESPONSE REGULATOR7 (PRR7) and PRR9, and is necessary for the regulation of their alternative splicing and mRNA maturation. Genome-wide investigations reveal that SKIP functions in regulating alternative splicing of many genes, presumably through modulating recognition or cleavage of 5' and 3' splice donor and acceptor sites. Our study addresses a fundamental question on how the mRNA splicing machinery contributes to circadian clock function at a posttranscriptional level.

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