Mutation of PTB binding sites causes misregulation of alternative 3' splice site selection in vivo.RNA. 1997 Jul; 3(7):764-78.RNA
Alternative splicing of pre-mRNA is a commonly used mechanism to regulate gene expression in higher eukaryotes. However, with the exception of regulated cascades in Drosophila, the cis-acting elements and the trans-acting factors that control tissue- and/or developmentally regulated splicing remain largely unidentified. Cis-acting elements that control smooth muscle-specific repression of exon 3 of alpha-tropomyosin (alpha-TM) have been identified recently and consist of two regions that flank this exon. Deletion of either element causes misregulated splicing of alpha-TM in transfected smooth muscle cells. In experiments designed to characterize essential sequences within each element and the factors that interact with these sequences, we have identified two overlapping sequences within the downstream regulatory element (DRE) that are identical to binding sites for polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) that were identified using iterative selection techniques. Mutation of these sites caused aberrant splicing regulation in transfected smooth muscle cells. In addition, sequences identical to high-affinity PTB binding sites were also detected upstream of exon 3 and mutation of these sites also resulted in misregulation of splicing in vivo, suggesting that PTB binding to specific sequences flanking exon 3 is responsible, in part, for the repression of exon 3. Consistent with this hypothesis, UV crosslinking and equilibrium binding assays confirm that the same mutations that cause misregulated splicing also disrupt PTB binding to RNA.