Scientific reports

HnRNP C, YB-1 and hnRNP L coordinately enhance skipping of human MUSK exon 10 to generate a Wnt-insensitive MuSK isoform.

PMID 25354590


Muscle specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK) is an essential postsynaptic transmembrane molecule that mediates clustering of acetylcholine receptors (AChR). MUSK exon 10 is alternatively skipped in human, but not in mouse. Skipping of this exon disrupts a cysteine-rich region (Fz-CRD), which is essential for Wnt-mediated AChR clustering. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of alternative splicing, we exploited block-scanning mutagenesis with human minigene and identified a 20-nucleotide block that contained exonic splicing silencers. Using RNA-affinity purification, mass spectrometry, and Western blotting, we identified that hnRNP C, YB-1 and hnRNP L are bound to MUSK exon 10. siRNA-mediated knockdown and cDNA overexpression confirmed the additive, as well as the independent, splicing suppressing effects of hnRNP C, YB-1 and hnRNP L. Antibody-mediated in vitro protein depletion and scanning mutagenesis additionally revealed that binding of hnRNP C to RNA subsequently promotes binding of YB-1 and hnRNP L to the immediate downstream sites and enhances exon skipping. Simultaneous tethering of two splicing trans-factors to the target confirmed the cooperative effect of YB-1 and hnRNP L on hnRNP C-mediated exon skipping. Search for a similar motif in the human genome revealed nine alternative exons that were individually or coordinately regulated by hnRNP C and YB-1.