A highly stable duplex structure sequesters the 5' splice site region of hnRNP A1 alternative exon 7B.RNA. 1997 Apr; 3(4):405-19.RNA
Exon 7B in the hnRNP A1 pre-mRNA is alternatively spliced to yield A1 and A1(B), two proteins that differ in their ability to modulate 5' splice site selection. Sequencing the murine intron downstream of exon 7B revealed the existence of several regions of similarity to the corresponding human intron. In vitro splicing assays indicate that an 84-nt region (CE6IO) decreases splicing to the proximal 5' splice site in a pre-mRNA carrying the 5' splice sites of exon 7 and 7B. In vivo, the CE6IO element promotes exon 7B skipping in pre-mRNAs expressed from a mini-gene containing the hnRNP A1 alternative splicing unit. Using oligonucleotide-targeted RNase H cleavage assays, we provide support for the existence of highly stable base pairing interactions between CE6IO and the 5' splice site region of exon 7B. Duplex formation occurs in naked pre-mRNA, resists incubation in splicing extracts, and is associated with a reduction in the assembly of U1 snRNP-dependent complexes to the 5' splice site of exon 7B. Our results demonstrate that pre-mRNA secondary structure plays an important role in promoting exon 7B skipping in the A1 pre-mRNA.