Alternative splicing of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) mutually exclusive exons IIIb and IIIc represents a tightly regulated and functionally relevant example of post-transcriptional gene regulation. Rat prostate cancer DT3 and AT3 cell lines demonstrate exclusive selection of either exon IIIb or exon IIIc, respectively, and have been used to characterize regulatory FGFR2 RNA cis-elements that are required for splicing regulation. Two sequences termed ISE-2 and ISAR are located in the intron between exons IIIb and IIIc and are required for cell-type specific exon IIIb. Previous studies suggest that the function of these elements involves formation of an RNA stem structure, even though they are separated by more than 700 nucleotides. Using transfected minigenes, we performed a systematic analysis of the sequence and structural components of ISE-2 and ISAR that are required for their ability to regulate FGFR2 splicing. We found that the primary sequence of these elements can be replaced by completely unrelated sequences, provided that they are also predicted to form an RNA stem structure. Thus, a nonsequence-specific double stranded RNA stem constitutes a functional element required for FGFR2 splicing; suggesting that a double-stranded RNA binding protein is a component of the splicing regulatory machinery.