Identification of cis-acting elements and splicing factors involved in the regulation of BIM Pre-mRNA splicing.PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e95210.Plos
Aberrant changes in the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein, BCL-2-like 11 (BIM), can result in either impaired or excessive apoptosis, which can contribute to tumorigenesis and degenerative disorders, respectively. Altering BIM pre-mRNA splicing is an attractive approach to modulate apoptosis because BIM activity is partly determined by the alternative splicing of exons 3 or 4, whereby exon 3-containing transcripts are not apoptotic. Here we identified several cis-acting elements and splicing factors involved in BIM alternative splicing, as a step to better understand the regulation of BIM expression. We analyzed a recently discovered 2,903-bp deletion polymorphism within BIM intron 2 that biased splicing towards exon 3, and which also impaired BIM-dependent apoptosis. We found that this region harbors multiple redundant cis-acting elements that repress exon 3 inclusion. Furthermore, we have isolated a 23-nt intronic splicing silencer at the 3' end of the deletion that is important for excluding exon 3. We also show that PTBP1 and hnRNP C repress exon 3 inclusion, and that downregulation of PTBP1 inhibited BIM-mediated apoptosis. Collectively, these findings start building our understanding of the cis-acting elements and splicing factors that regulate BIM alternative splicing, and also suggest potential approaches to alter BIM splicing for therapeutic purposes.