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Science. 1995 May 26;268(5214):1173-6.

Distinct binding specificities and functions of higher eukaryotic polypyrimidine tract-binding proteins.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01605, USA.


In higher eukaryotes, the polypyrimidine-tract (Py-tract) adjacent to the 3' splice site is recognized by several proteins, including the essential splicing factor U2AF65, the splicing regulator Sex-lethal (Sxl), and polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB), whose function is unknown. Iterative in vitro genetic selection was used to show that these proteins have distinct sequence preferences. The uridine-rich degenerate sequences selected by U2AF65 are similar to those present in the diverse array of natural metazoan Py-tracts. In contrast, the Sxl-consensus is a highly specific sequence, which can help explain the ability of Sxl to regulate splicing of transformer pre-mRNA and autoregulate splicing of its own pre-mRNA. The PTB-consensus is not a typical Py-tract; it can be found in certain alternatively spliced pre-mRNAs that undergo negative regulation. Here it is shown that PTB can regulate alternative splicing by selectively repressing 3' splice sites that contain a PTB-binding site.

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