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Nucleic acids research

Fox-3 and PSF interact to activate neural cell-specific alternative splicing.


PMID 21177649

Abstract

Fox-1 family (Fox) proteins, which consist of Fox-1 (A2BP1), Fox-2 (Rbm9) and Fox-3 (NeuN) in mammals, bind to the RNA element UGCAUG and regulate alternative pre-mRNA splicing. However the mechanisms for Fox-regulated splicing are largely unknown. We analyzed the expression pattern of the three Fox proteins as well as neural cell-specific alternative splicing of a cassette exon N30 of nonmuscle myosin heavy chain (NMHC) II-B in the mouse central nervous system. Histological and biochemical analyses following fluorescence-activated cell sorting demonstrate a positive correlation of N30 inclusion and Fox-3 expression. Further, we identified polypyrimidine tract binding protein-associated splicing factor (PSF) as an interacting protein with Fox-3 by affinity-chromatography. In cultured cells, enhancement of N30 inclusion by Fox-3 depends on the presence of PSF. PSF enhances N30 inclusion in a UGCAUG-dependent manner, although it does not bind directly to this element. Fox-3 is recruited to the UGCAUG element downstream of N30 in the endogenous NMHC II-B transcript in a PSF-dependent manner. This study is the first to identify PSF as a coactivator of Fox proteins and provides evidence that the Fox-3 and PSF interaction is an integral part of the mechanism by which Fox proteins regulate activation of alternative exons via a downstream intronic enhancer.