SRSF3

Gene Summary

Gene:SRSF3; serine and arginine rich splicing factor 3
Aliases: SFRS3, SRp20
Location:6p21.31-p21.2
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the serine/arginine (SR)-rich family of pre-mRNA splicing factors, which constitute part of the spliceosome. Each of these factors contains an RNA recognition motif (RRM) for binding RNA and an RS domain for binding other proteins. The RS domain is rich in serine and arginine residues and facilitates interaction between different SR splicing factors. In addition to being critical for mRNA splicing, the SR proteins have also been shown to be involved in mRNA export from the nucleus and in translation. Two transcript variants, one protein-coding and the other non-coding, have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • HEK293 Cells
  • beta Catenin
  • Western Blotting
  • Transcription
  • Messenger RNA
  • Xenograft Models
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Protein Binding
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Y-Box-Binding Protein 1
  • Transfection
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • RNA Interference
  • Translocation
  • Binding Sites
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Base Sequence
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Cell Line
  • siRNA
  • Transcription Factors
  • Apoptosis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Exons
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Chromosome 6
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA Splicing
  • RTPCR
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • HeLa Cells
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • Protein Isoforms
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: SRSF3 (cancer-related)

Ajiro M, Jia R, Yang Y, et al.
A genome landscape of SRSF3-regulated splicing events and gene expression in human osteosarcoma U2OS cells.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2016; 44(4):1854-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alternative RNA splicing is an essential process to yield proteomic diversity in eukaryotic cells, and aberrant splicing is often associated with numerous human diseases and cancers. We recently described serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3 or SRp20) being a proto-oncogene. However, the SRSF3-regulated splicing events responsible for its oncogenic activities remain largely unknown. By global profiling of the SRSF3-regulated splicing events in human osteosarcoma U2OS cells, we found that SRSF3 regulates the expression of 60 genes including ERRFI1, ANXA1 and TGFB2, and 182 splicing events in 164 genes, including EP300, PUS3, CLINT1, PKP4, KIF23, CHK1, SMC2, CKLF, MAP4, MBNL1, MELK, DDX5, PABPC1, MAP4K4, Sp1 and SRSF1, which are primarily associated with cell proliferation or cell cycle. Two SRSF3-binding motifs, CCAGC(G)C and A(G)CAGCA, are enriched to the alternative exons. An SRSF3-binding site in the EP300 exon 14 is essential for exon 14 inclusion. We found that the expression of SRSF1 and SRSF3 are mutually dependent and coexpressed in normal and tumor tissues/cells. SRSF3 also significantly regulates the expression of at least 20 miRNAs, including a subset of oncogenic or tumor suppressive miRNAs. These data indicate that SRSF3 affects a global change of gene expression to maintain cell homeostasis.

Dewaele M, Tabaglio T, Willekens K, et al.
Antisense oligonucleotide-mediated MDM4 exon 6 skipping impairs tumor growth.
J Clin Invest. 2016; 126(1):68-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MDM4 is a promising target for cancer therapy, as it is undetectable in most normal adult tissues but often upregulated in cancer cells to dampen p53 tumor-suppressor function. The mechanisms that underlie MDM4 upregulation in cancer cells are largely unknown. Here, we have shown that this key oncogenic event mainly depends on a specific alternative splicing switch. We determined that while a nonsense-mediated, decay-targeted isoform of MDM4 (MDM4-S) is produced in normal adult tissues as a result of exon 6 skipping, enhanced exon 6 inclusion leads to expression of full-length MDM4 in a large number of human cancers. Although this alternative splicing event is likely regulated by multiple splicing factors, we identified the SRSF3 oncoprotein as a key enhancer of exon 6 inclusion. In multiple human melanoma cell lines and in melanoma patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models, antisense oligonucleotide-mediated (ASO-mediated) skipping of exon 6 decreased MDM4 abundance, inhibited melanoma growth, and enhanced sensitivity to MAPK-targeting therapeutics. Additionally, ASO-based MDM4 targeting reduced diffuse large B cell lymphoma PDX growth. As full-length MDM4 is enhanced in multiple human tumors, our data indicate that this strategy is applicable to a wide range of tumor types. We conclude that enhanced MDM4 exon 6 inclusion is a common oncogenic event and has potential as a clinically compatible therapeutic target.

Sotillo E, Barrett DM, Black KL, et al.
Convergence of Acquired Mutations and Alternative Splicing of CD19 Enables Resistance to CART-19 Immunotherapy.
Cancer Discov. 2015; 5(12):1282-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The CD19 antigen, expressed on most B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (B-ALL), can be targeted with chimeric antigen receptor-armed T cells (CART-19), but relapses with epitope loss occur in 10% to 20% of pediatric responders. We detected hemizygous deletions spanning the CD19 locus and de novo frameshift and missense mutations in exon 2 of CD19 in some relapse samples. However, we also discovered alternatively spliced CD19 mRNA species, including one lacking exon 2. Pull-down/siRNA experiments identified SRSF3 as a splicing factor involved in exon 2 retention, and its levels were lower in relapsed B-ALL. Using genome editing, we demonstrated that exon 2 skipping bypasses exon 2 mutations in B-ALL cells and allows expression of the N-terminally truncated CD19 variant, which fails to trigger killing by CART-19 but partly rescues defects associated with CD19 loss. Thus, this mechanism of resistance is based on a combination of deleterious mutations and ensuing selection for alternatively spliced RNA isoforms.
SIGNIFICANCE: CART-19 yield 70% response rates in patients with B-ALL, but also produce escape variants. We discovered that the underlying mechanism is the selection for preexisting alternatively spliced CD19 isoforms with the compromised CART-19 epitope. This mechanism suggests a possibility of targeting alternative CD19 ectodomains, which could improve survival of patients with B-cell neoplasms.

Guo J, Jia J, Jia R
PTBP1 and PTBP2 impaired autoregulation of SRSF3 in cancer cells.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:14548 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Splicing factors are key players in the regulation of alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs. Overexpression of splicing factors, including SRSF3, has been strongly linked with oncogenesis. However, the mechanisms behind their overexpression remain largely unclear. Autoregulation is a common mechanism to maintain relative stable expression levels of splicing factors in cells. SRSF3 regulates its own expression by enhancing the inclusion of an alternative exon 4 with an in-frame stop codon. We found that the inclusion of SRSF3 exon 4 is impaired in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. PTBP1 and PTBP2 bind to an exonic splicing suppressor in exon 4 and inhibit its inclusion, which results in overexpression of full length functional SRSF3. Overexpression of SRSF3, in turn, promotes PTBP2 expression. Our results suggest a novel mechanism for the overexpression of oncogenic splicing factor via impairing autoregulation in cancer cells.

Gautrey H, Jackson C, Dittrich AL, et al.
SRSF3 and hnRNP H1 regulate a splicing hotspot of HER2 in breast cancer cells.
RNA Biol. 2015; 12(10):1139-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Overexpression of the oncogene HER2 occurs in 20-30% of invasive breast cancer and is associated with poor prognosis. A number of different splice variants of HER2 have been identified which produce functionally different proteins. Previously these splice variants have been investigated separately, but in the present study we collectively look at the expression and regulation of a group of HER2 splice variants produced by a splicing hotspot. Initial investigation in a cohort of tumor samples showed large variations in HER2 variant expression between patient samples. RNA interference studies identified 2 splicing factors involved in the regulation of splicing within this region, hnRNP H1 and SRSF3. siRNA targeting hnRNP H1 increases levels of X5 and the oncogenic variant Δ16HER2. Furthermore RNA chromatography assays demonstrated binding of hnRNP H1 to RNA in this region. Additionally the proto-oncogene SRSF3 was also identified as an important regulator of splicing with SRSF3 knockdown resulting in changes in all the splice variants located at the hotspot. Most notably knockdown of SRSF3 resulted in a switch from the oncogenic Δ16HER2 to p100 which inhibits cell proliferation. Binding of SRSF3 to RNA within this region was also demonstrated by RNA chromatography and more specifically 2 SRSF3 binding sites were identified within exon 15. SRSF3 and hnRNP H1 are the first splicing factors identified which regulate the production of these functionally distinct HER2 splice variants and therefore maybe important for the regulation of HER2 signaling.

He X, Zhang P
Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) regulates homologous recombination-mediated DNA repair.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:158 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Our previous work found that serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) was overexpressed in human ovarian cancer and the overexpression of SRSF3 was required for ovarian cancer cell growth and survival. The mechanism underlying the role of SRSF3 in ovarian cancer remains to be addressed.
METHODS: We conducted microarray analysis to profile the gene expression and splicing in SRSF3-knockdown cells and employed quantitative PCR and western blotting to validate the profiling results. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation to study transcription and the direct repeat green fluorescent protein reporter assay to study homologous recombination-mediated DNA repair (HRR).
RESULTS: We identified 687 genes with altered expression and 807 genes with altered splicing in SRSF3-knockdown cells. Among expression-altered genes, those involved in HRR, including BRCA1, BRIP1 and RAD51, were enriched and were all downregulated. We demonstrated that the downregulation of BRCA1, BRIP1 and RAD51 expression was caused by decreased transcription and not due to increased nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Further, we found that SRSF3 knockdown impaired HRR activity in the cell and increased the level of γ-H2AX, a biomarker for double-strand DNA breaks. Finally, we observed that SRSF3 knockdown changed splicing pattern of KMT2C, a H3K4-specific histone methyltransferase, and reduced the levels of mono- and trimethylated H3K4.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that SRSF3 is a new regulator of HRR process, which possibly regulates the expression of HRR-related genes indirectly through an epigenetic pathway. This new function of SRSF3 not only explains why overexpression of SRSF3 is required for ovarian cancer cell growth and survival but also offers a new insight into the mechanism of the neoplastic transformation.

Zhu S, Chen Z, Katsha A, et al.
Regulation of CD44E by DARPP-32-dependent activation of SRp20 splicing factor in gastric tumorigenesis.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(14):1847-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CD44E is a frequently overexpressed variant of CD44 in gastric cancer. Mechanisms that regulate CD44 splicing and expression in gastric cancer remain unknown. Herein, we investigated the role of DARPP-32 (dopamine and cyclic adenosine monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein, Mr 32000) in promoting tumor growth through regulation of CD44 splicing. Using western blot and quantitative real-time PCR analysis, our results indicated that knockdown of endogenous DARPP-32 markedly reduces the expression of CD44 V8-V10 (CD44E). Using a quantitative splicing luciferase reporter system, we detected a significant increase in the reporter activity following DARPP-32 overexpression (P<0.001). Conversely, knocking down endogenous DARPP-32 significantly attenuated the splicing activity (P<0.001). Further experiments showed that DARPP-32 regulates the expression of SRp20 splicing factor and co-exists with it in the same protein complex. Inhibition of alternative splicing with digitoxin followed by immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting indicated that DARPP-32 has an important role in regulating SRp20 protein stability. The knockdown of endogenous DARPP-32 confirmed that DARPP-32 regulates the SRp20-dependent CD44E splicing. Using tumor xenograft mouse model, knocking down endogenous DARPP-32 markedly reduced SRp20 and CD44E protein levels with a decreased tumor growth. The reconstitution of SRp20 expression in these cells rescued tumor growth. In addition, we also demonstrated frequent co-overexpression and positive correlation of DARPP-32, SRp20 and CD44E expression levels in human gastric primary tumors. Our novel findings establish for the first time the role of DARPP-32 in regulating splicing factors in gastric cancer cells. The DARPP-32-SRp20 axis has a key role in regulating the CD44E splice variant that promotes gastric tumorigenesis.

McFarlane M, MacDonald AI, Stevenson A, Graham SV
Human Papillomavirus 16 Oncoprotein Expression Is Controlled by the Cellular Splicing Factor SRSF2 (SC35).
J Virol. 2015; 89(10):5276-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: High-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPV) cause anogenital cancers, including cervical cancer, and head and neck cancers. Human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) is the most prevalent HR-HPV. HPV oncogenesis is driven by two viral oncoproteins, E6 and E7, which are expressed through alternative splicing of a polycistronic RNA to yield four major splice isoforms (E6 full length, E6*I, E6*II, E6*X). The production of multiple mRNA isoforms from a single gene is controlled by serine/arginine-rich splicing factors (SRSFs), and HPV16 infection induces overexpression of a subset of these, SRSFs 1, 2, and 3. In this study, we examined whether these proteins could control HPV16 oncoprotein expression. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) depletion experiments revealed that SRSF1 did not affect oncoprotein RNA levels. While SRSF3 knockdown caused some reduction in E6E7 expression, depletion of SRSF2 resulted in a significant loss of E6E7 RNAs, resulting in reduced levels of the E6-regulated p53 proteins and E7 oncoprotein itself. SRSF2 contributed to the tumor phenotype of HPV16-positive cervical cancer cells, as its depletion resulted in decreased cell proliferation, reduced colony formation, and increased apoptosis. SRSF2 did not affect transcription from the P97 promoter that controls viral oncoprotein expression. Rather, RNA decay experiments showed that SRSF2 is required to maintain stability of E6E7 mRNAs. These data show that SRSF2 is a key regulator of HPV16 oncoprotein expression and cervical tumor maintenance.
IMPORTANCE: Expression of the HPV16 oncoproteins E7 and E6 drives HPV-associated tumor formation. Although increased transcription may yield increased levels of E6E7 mRNAs, it is known that the RNAs can have increased stability upon integration into the host genome. SR splicing factors (SRSFs) control splicing but can also control other events in the RNA life cycle, including RNA stability. Previously, we demonstrated increased levels of SRSFs 1, 2, and 3 during cervical tumor progression. Now we show that SRSF2 is required for expression of E6E7 mRNAs in cervical tumor but not nontumor cells and may act by inhibiting their decay. SRSF2 depletion in W12 tumor cells resulted in increased apoptosis, decreased proliferation, and decreased colony formation, suggesting that SRSF2 has oncogenic functions in cervical tumor progression. SRSF function can be targeted by known drugs that inhibit SRSF phosphorylation, suggesting a possible new avenue in abrogating HPV oncoprotein activity.

Lu GY, Liu ST, Huang SM, et al.
Multiple effects of digoxin on subsets of cancer-associated genes through the alternative splicing pathway.
Biochimie. 2014; 106:131-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The signaling characteristics of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase are distinct from its ion pumping activity. Cardiac glycosides modulate the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase protein complex upon binding, activate downstream signaling pathways and increase [Ca(2+)]i. Recent studies demonstrate that the depletion of p53 and hypoxia-induced factor 1α proteins is caused by cardiac glycosides. However, the detailed mechanisms governing this process are not well known. In this study, we showed that the depletion of p53 proteins by digoxin involved not only inhibition of protein synthesis but also inhibition at the post-transcriptional level. Post-transcriptional regulation occurs via down-regulation of SRSF3, the primary splicing factor responsible for the switch from p53α to the p53β isoform. Digoxin also modulated G2/M arrest, DNA damage and apoptosis through the p53-dependent pathway in HeLa cells. In addition, digoxin was involved in epithelial-mesenchymal-transition progression via E-cadherin reduction and snail induction. Digoxin had similar effects to caffeine, another SRSF3-reduced agent, on the cell cycle profile and DNA damage of cells. Interestingly, combined digoxin and caffeine treatment blocked cell cycle progression and conferred resistance to cell death via snail induction. These findings demonstrate that down-regulation of splicing factor, such as SRSF3, to alter cell cycle progression, cell death and invasion is a potential target for the drug repositioning of cardiac glycosides.

Sen S, Langiewicz M, Jumaa H, Webster NJ
Deletion of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 in hepatocytes predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma in mice.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(1):171-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Alterations in RNA splicing are associated with cancer, but it is not clear whether they result from malignant transformation or have a causative role. We show here that hepatocyte-specific deletion of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) impairs hepatocyte maturation and metabolism in early adult life, and mice develop spontaneous hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with aging. Tumor development is preceded by chronic liver disease with progressive steatosis and fibrosis. SRSF3 protects mice against CCl4 -induced fibrosis and carcinogenesis and suppresses inclusion of the profibrogenic EDA exon in fibronectin 1. Loss of SRSF3 increases expression of insulin-like growth factor 2 and the A-isoform of the insulin receptor, allowing aberrant activation of mitogenic signaling, promotes aberrant splicing and expression of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) genes, and activates Wnt/β-catenin signaling leading to c-Myc induction. Finally, SRSF3 expression is either decreased or the protein mislocalized in human HCC.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest a potential role for SRSF3 in preventing hepatic carcinogenesis by regulating splicing to suppress fibrosis, mitogenic splicing, and EMT. Thus, these mice may provide an attractive model to discover the pathogenic mechanisms linking aberrant pre-messenger RNA splicing with liver damage, fibrosis, and HCC.

Elizalde M, Urtasun R, Azkona M, et al.
Splicing regulator SLU7 is essential for maintaining liver homeostasis.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(7):2909-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A precise equilibrium between cellular differentiation and proliferation is fundamental for tissue homeostasis. Maintaining this balance is particularly important for the liver, a highly differentiated organ with systemic metabolic functions that is endowed with unparalleled regenerative potential. Carcinogenesis in the liver develops as the result of hepatocellular de-differentiation and uncontrolled proliferation. Here, we identified SLU7, which encodes a pre-mRNA splicing regulator that is inhibited in hepatocarcinoma, as a pivotal gene for hepatocellular homeostasis. SLU7 knockdown in human liver cells and mouse liver resulted in profound changes in pre-mRNA splicing and gene expression, leading to impaired glucose and lipid metabolism, refractoriness to key metabolic hormones, and reversion to a fetal-like gene expression pattern. Additionally, loss of SLU7 also increased hepatocellular proliferation and induced a switch to a tumor-like glycolytic phenotype. Slu7 governed the splicing and/or expression of multiple genes essential for hepatocellular differentiation, including serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (Srsf3) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (Hnf4α), and was critical for cAMP-regulated gene transcription. Together, out data indicate that SLU7 is central regulator of hepatocyte identity and quiescence.

Lu GY, Huang SM, Liu ST, et al.
Caffeine induces tumor cytotoxicity via the regulation of alternative splicing in subsets of cancer-associated genes.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014; 47:83-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Caffeine causes a diverse range of pharmacological effects that are time- and concentration-dependent and reversible. The detailed mechanisms of caffeine in tumor suppression via tumor suppressor protein p53 remain unclear. The isoforms of p53 are physiological proteins that are expressed in normal cells and generated via alternative promoters, splicing sites and/or translational initiation sites. In this study, we investigated how caffeine modulated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via the expression of various alternatively spliced p53 isoforms. Caffeine reduced p53α expression and induced the expression of p53β, which contains an alternatively spliced p53 C-terminus. In HeLa cells, the expression levels of many serine/arginine-rich splicing factors, including serine/arginine-rich splicing factors 2 and 3, were altered by caffeine. Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 was a promising candidate for the serine/arginine-rich splicing factors responsible for the alternative splicing of p53 in response to caffeine treatment. In addition to p53-dependent functions, multiple target genes of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 suggest that caffeine can regulate epithelial-mesenchymal-transition and hypoxic conditions to inhibit the survival of tumor cells. In summary, our data provide a new pathway of caffeine-modulated tumor suppression via the alternative splicing of the target genes of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3.

Kim J, Park RY, Chen JK, et al.
Splicing factor SRSF3 represses the translation of programmed cell death 4 mRNA by associating with the 5'-UTR region.
Cell Death Differ. 2014; 21(3):481-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3), a member of the serine/arginine (SR)-rich family of proteins, regulates both alternative splicing of pre-mRNA and export of mature mRNA from the nucleus. Although its role in nuclear mRNA processing is well understood, the mechanism by which it alters the fate of cytoplasmic mRNA molecules remains elusive. Here, we provide evidence that SRSF3 not only regulates the alternative splicing pattern of programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) mRNA, but also modulates its translational efficiency in the cytoplasm by lowering translation levels. We observed a marked increase in PDCD4 mRNA in translating polysome fractions upon silencing of SRSF3, and, conversely, ectopic overexpression of SRSF3 shifted PDCD4 mRNA into non-translating ribosomal fractions. In live cells, SRSF3 colocalized with PDCD4 mRNA in P-bodies (PBs), where translationally silenced mRNAs are deposited, and this localization was abrogated upon SRSF3 silencing. Furthermore, using two different reporter systems, we showed that SRSF3 interacts directly with PDCD4 mRNA and mediates translational repression by binding to the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR). In summary, our data suggest that the oncogenic potential of SRSF3 might be realized, in part, through the translational repression of PDCD4 mRNA.

Kano S, Nishida K, Kurebe H, et al.
Oxidative stress-inducible truncated serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 regulates interleukin-8 production in human colon cancer cells.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2014; 306(3):C250-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) is a member of the SR protein family and plays wide-ranging roles in gene expression. The human SRSF3 gene generates two alternative splice transcripts, a major mRNA isoform (SRSF3-FL) encoding functional full-length protein and a premature termination codon (PTC)-containing isoform (SRSF3-PTC). The latter is degraded through nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Treatment of a human colon cancer cell line (HCT116) with 100 μM sodium arsenite increased SRSF3-PTC mRNA levels without changing SRSF3-FL mRNA levels. A chemiluminescence-based NMD reporter assay system demonstrated that arsenite treatment inhibited NMD activity and increased SRSF3-PTC mRNA levels in the cytoplasm, facilitating translation of a truncated SRSF3 protein (SRSF3-TR) from SRSF3-PTC mRNA. SRSF3-TR lacked two-thirds of the Arg/Ser-rich (RS) domain whose phosphorylation state is known to be crucial for subcellular distribution. SRSF3-FL was localized in the nucleus, while overexpressed SRSF3-TR was diffusely distributed in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. A part of SRSF3-TR was also associated with stress granules in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, treatment of HCT116 cells with a small interference RNA specifically targeting SRSF3-PTC mRNA significantly attenuated arsenite-stimulated induction of c-JUN protein, its binding activity to the AP-1 binding site (-126 to 120 bp) in the interleukin (IL)-8 gene promoter, and AP-1 promoter activity, resulting in significant reduction of arsenite-stimulated IL-8 production. Our results suggest that SRSF3-TR may function as a positive regulator of oxidative stress-initiated inflammatory responses in colon cancer cells.

Balasubramaniam VR, Hong Wai T, Ario Tejo B, et al.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus nucleoprotein interacts with TREX complex adaptor protein Aly/REF.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e72429 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We constructed a novel chicken (Gallus gallus) lung cDNA library fused inside yeast acting domain vector (pGADT7). Using yeast two-hybrid screening with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) nucleoprotein (NP) from the strain (A/chicken/Malaysia/5858/2004(H5N1)) as bait, and the Gallus gallus lung cDNA library as prey, a novel interaction between the Gallus gallus cellular RNA export adaptor protein Aly/REF and the viral NP was identified. This interaction was confirmed and validated with mammalian two hybrid studies and co-immunoprecipitation assay. Cellular localization studies using confocal microscopy showed that NP and Aly/REF co-localize primarily in the nucleus. Further investigations by mammalian two hybrid studies into the binding of NP of other subtypes of influenza virus such as the swine A/New Jersey/1976/H1N1 and pandemic A/Malaysia/854/2009(H1N1) to human Aly/REF, also showed that the NP of these viruses interacts with human Aly/REF. Our findings are also supported by docking studies which showed tight and favorable binding between H5N1 NP and human Aly/REF, using crystal structures from Protein Data Bank. siRNA knockdown of Aly/REF had little effect on the export of HPAI NP and other viral RNA as it showed no significant reduction in virus titer. However, UAP56, another component of the TREX complex, which recruits Aly/REF to mRNA was found to interact even better with H5N1 NP through molecular docking studies. Both these proteins also co-localizes in the nucleus at early infection similar to Aly/REF. Intriguingly, knockdown of UAP56 in A549 infected cells shows significant reduction in viral titer (close to 10 fold reduction). Conclusively, our study have opened new avenues for research of other cellular RNA export adaptors crucial in aiding viral RNA export such as the SRSF3, 9G8 and ASF/SF2 that may play role in influenza virus RNA nucleocytoplasmic transport.

Iborra S, Hirschfeld M, Jaeger M, et al.
Alterations in expression pattern of splicing factors in epithelial ovarian cancer and its clinical impact.
Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2013; 23(6):990-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Alternative splicing represents an important nuclear mechanism in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression, which is frequently altered during tumorigenesis. Previously, we described marked changes in alternative splicing of the CD44 gene in ovarian and breast cancer as well as specific induction of distinct splicing factors during tumor development. The present study was focused on the expression profiles of different splicing factors, including classical serine-arginine (SR) proteins including ASF/SF2, hTra2β1, hTra2α, and Y-box-binding protein (YB-1) in physiological and malignant epithelial ovarian tissue to evaluate their expression pattern with regard to tumor development and disease progression.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Expression levels of the different splicing factors were analyzed in physiological epithelial ovarian tissue samples, primary tumors, and metastatic samples of patients with a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer using quantified reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. We examined more closely the splicing factor hTra2β1 using Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: The analysis revealed a marked and specific induction of ASF/SF2, SRp20, hTra2β1, and YB-1 in primary tumors as well as in their metastatic sites. However, in our patient cohort, no induction was seen for the other investigated splicing factors SRp55, SRp40, and hTra2α.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest a specific induction of distinct splicing factors in ovarian cancer tumorigenesis. The involvement of hTra2β1, YB-1, SRp20, and ASF/SF2 in exon recognition and alternative splicing may be important for gene regulation of alternatively spliced genes like CD44 with potential functional consequences in this tumor type leading to progression and metastasis.

Corbo C, Orrù S, Salvatore F
SRp20: an overview of its role in human diseases.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 436(1):1-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alternative splicing in mRNA maturation has emerged as a major field of study also because of its implications in various diseases. The SR proteins play an important role in the regulation of this process. Evidence indicates that SRp20 (SFSR3), the smallest member of the SR protein family, is involved in numerous biological processes. Here we review the state-of-the-art of knowledge about the SR proteins, in particular SRp20, in terms of its function and misregulation in human diseases including cancer also in view of its potential as a therapeutic target.

Chettouh H, Fartoux L, Aoudjehane L, et al.
Mitogenic insulin receptor-A is overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma due to EGFR-mediated dysregulation of RNA splicing factors.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(13):3974-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Insulin receptor (IR) exists as two isoforms resulting from the alternative splicing of IR pre-mRNA. IR-B promotes the metabolic effects of insulin, whereas IR-A rather signals proliferative effects. IR-B is predominantly expressed in the adult liver. Here, we show that the alternative splicing of IR pre-mRNA is dysregulated in a panel of 85 human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) while being normal in adjacent nontumor liver tissue. An IR-B to IR-A switch is frequently observed in HCC tumors regardless of tumor etiology. Using pharmacologic and siRNA approaches, we show that the autocrine or paracrine activation of the EGF receptor (EGFR)/mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway increases the IR-A:IR-B ratio in HCC cell lines, but not in normal hepatocytes, by upregulating the expression of the splicing factors CUGBP1, hnRNPH, hnRNPA1, hnRNPA2B1, and SF2/ASF. In HCC tumors, there is a significant correlation between the expression of IR-A and that of splicing factors. Dysregulation of IR pre-mRNA splicing was confirmed in a chemically induced model of HCC in rat but not in regenerating livers after partial hepatectomy. This study identifies a mechanism responsible for the generation of mitogenic IR-A and provides a novel interplay between IR and EGFR pathways in HCC. Increased expression of IR-A during neoplastic transformation of hepatocytes could mediate some of the adverse effects of hyperinsulinemia on HCC.

Kurokawa K, Akaike Y, Masuda K, et al.
Downregulation of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 induces G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in colon cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(11):1407-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) likely has wide-ranging roles in gene expression and facilitation of tumor cell growth. SRSF3 knockdown induced G1 arrest and apoptosis in colon cancer cells (HCT116) in association with altered expression of 833 genes. Pathway analysis revealed 'G1/S Checkpoint Regulation' as the most highly enriched category in the affected genes. SRSF3 knockdown did not induce p53 or stimulate phosphorylation of p53 or histone H2A.X in wild-type HCT116 cells. Furthermore, the knockdown induced G1 arrest in p53-null HCT116 cells, suggesting that p53-dependent DNA damage responses did not mediate the G1 arrest. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blotting confirmed that SRSF3 knockdown reduced mRNA and protein levels of cyclins (D1, D3 and E1), E2F1 and E2F7. The decreased expression of cyclin D and E2F1 likely impaired the G1-to-S-phase progression. Consequently, retinoblastoma protein remained hypophosphorylated in SRSF3 knockdown cells. The knockdown also induced apoptosis in association with reduction of BCL2 protein levels. We also found that SRSF3 knockdown facilitated skipping of 81 5'-nucleotides (27 amino acids) from exon 8 of homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) and produced a HIPK2 Δe8 isoform. Full-length HIPK2 (HIPK2 FL) is constantly degraded through association with an E3 ubiquitin ligase (Siah-1), whereas HIPK2 Δe8, lacking the 27 amino acids, lost Siah-1-binding ability and became resistant to proteasome digestion. Interestingly, selective knockdown of HIPK2 FL induced apoptosis in various colon cancer cells expressing wild-type or mutated p53. Thus, these findings disclose an important role of SRSF3 in the regulation of the G1-to-S-phase progression and alternative splicing of HIPK2 in tumor growth.

Muñoz Ú, Puche JE, Hannivoort R, et al.
Hepatocyte growth factor enhances alternative splicing of the Kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) tumor suppressor to promote growth through SRSF1.
Mol Cancer Res. 2012; 10(9):1216-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alternative splicing of the Krüppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) tumor suppressor into an antagonistic splice variant 1 (SV1) is a pathogenic event in several cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) because elevated SV1 is associated with increased tumor metastasis and mortality. Ras activation is one factor that can enhance KLF6 splicing in cancer cells, however pathways driving KLF6 splicing are unknown. Splice site selection is regulated by splice factors that include serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins such as SRSF1 (ASF-SF2), which in turn is controlled by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Because signaling pathways downstream of the liver mitogen hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) include Akt, we explored whether HGF induces KLF6 alternative splicing. In HepG2 cells, HGF (25 ng/mL) significantly increases the ratio of SV1/KLF6 full by 40% through phosphorylation of Akt and subsequent downregulation of two splicing regulators, SRSF3 (SRp20) and SRSF1. Decreased SRSF3 levels regulate SRSF1 levels by alternative splicing associated with the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway (AS-NMD), which stimulates cell growth by decreasing p21 levels. Enhanced cell replication through increased KLF6 alternative splicing is a novel growth-promoting pathway of HGF that could contribute to the molecule's mitogenic activity in physiologic liver growth and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Wong J, Garner B, Halliday GM, Kwok JB
Srp20 regulates TrkB pre-mRNA splicing to generate TrkB-Shc transcripts with implications for Alzheimer's disease.
J Neurochem. 2012; 123(1):159-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we reported elevated levels of the neuron-specific tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) transcript, TrkB- sarc homology containing (Shc) in the hippocampus of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. In this study, we determined how TrkB-Shc transcripts are increased in AD. Utilizing a TrkB minigene transiently transfected into SHSY5Y cells, we found increased exon 19 inclusion in TrkB minigene transcripts (to generate TrkB-Shc) following cellular exposure to amyloid beta 1-42 (Αβ(42)). As this suggested altered TrkB pre-mRNA splicing in AD, we conducted an in silico screening for putative splice regulatory protein-binding sites in the intron/exon splice regulatory regions of exons 18 and 19 of the TrkB gene and then assessed their gene expression profiles using a microarray database of control/AD post-mortem human hippocampal brain tissue. We found significant changes in serine/arginine protein 20 (Srp20) gene expression in AD cases and confirmed this using a second cohort of control/AD. In vitro, we found increased Srp20 mRNA levels in SHSY5Y cells treated with Αβ(42) fibrils. Moreover, Srp20 over-expression was found to increase exon 19 inclusion in TrkB minigene transcripts and ratio of endogenous TrkB-Shc:TrkB-TK+ mRNA expression. Conversely, Srp20 expression knockdown produced the opposite effects. Our findings suggest that dysregulation of factors regulating TrkB pre-mRNA splicing may contribute to gene expression changes that occur in AD.

Liu J, Huang B, Xiao Y, et al.
Aberrant expression of splicing factors in newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia.
Onkologie. 2012; 35(6):335-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of blood cancer in adults. Emerging evidence is establishing a connection between AML and aberrant alternative splicing of pre-mRNA, which may result from aberrant expression of splicing factors, the mediators of splicing reactions.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, we measured mRNA expression of 7 splicing factors belonging to the serine/arginine-rich (SR) protein family, SRSF1 (SF2/ASF), SRSF2 (SC35), SRSF3 (SRp20), SRSF4 (SRp75), SRSF5 (SRp40), SRSF6 (SRp55), and SRSF7 (9G8), and 1 non-SR factor, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (HNRNPA1), in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 26 patients with newly diagnosed AML and 26 healthy controls. In addition, the relationship between splicing factors and the mRNA splicing patterns of the caspase-8 gene (CASP8) was investigated.
RESULTS: Compared to healthy controls, the expression of splicing factors was obviously aberrant in newly diagnosed AML patients. The expression of SRSF1, SRSF3 and SRSF4 mRNAs was significantly decreased. Moreover, a significant correlation was observed between several splicing factors and caspase-8 pre-mRNA splicing in AML patients, but not in control subjects.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that aberrant expression of splicing factors in AML may potentially connect with abnormal expression of oncogenes and be useful for early diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of AML.

Corbo C, Orrù S, Gemei M, et al.
Protein cross-talk in CD133+ colon cancer cells indicates activation of the Wnt pathway and upregulation of SRp20 that is potentially involved in tumorigenicity.
Proteomics. 2012; 12(12):2045-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory represents a breakthrough in cancer research. We characterized the protein pattern of CSCs to identify specific intracellular pathways in this subpopulation of tumor cells. We studied colon CSCs using two different colon cancer cell lines: CaCo-2 and HCT-116. Putative CSCs were separated from non-CSCs by flow cytometry using CD133 as stemness marker. Total protein extracts of CD133+ cells were then compared to protein extracts of CD133- cells by 2D DIGE. The protein spots differentially expressed in the two subpopulations of cells were analyzed by mass spectrometry. Bioinformatics analysis of the identified proteins indicated alteration of two main processes: energy metabolism and the Wnt pathway. Interestingly, we observed upregulation of the splicing factor SRp20, a newly identified target gene of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, and we demonstrated a direct cause-effect relationship between Wnt pathway activation and the increased SRp20 expression. Our results also show that SRp20 influences cell proliferation, which suggests it plays a role in the tumorigenicity of CD133+ cells. In conclusion, activation of the Wnt pathway in CD133+ cells and upregulation of SRp20, which is implicated in tumorigenesis, raises the possibility of a sequential series of molecular events occurring in connection with this process.

Chang JG, Yang DM, Chang WH, et al.
Small molecule amiloride modulates oncogenic RNA alternative splicing to devitalize human cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(6):e18643 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alternative splicing involves differential exon selection of a gene transcript to generate mRNA and protein isoforms with structural and functional diversity. Abnormal alternative splicing has been shown to be associated with malignant phenotypes of cancer cells, such as chemo-resistance and invasive activity. Screening small molecules and drugs for modulating RNA splicing in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line Huh-7, we discovered that amiloride, distinct from four pH-affecting amiloride analogues, could "normalize" the splicing of BCL-X, HIPK3 and RON/MISTR1 transcripts. Our proteomic analyses of amiloride-treated cells detected hypo-phosphorylation of splicing factor SF2/ASF, and decreased levels of SRp20 and two un-identified SR proteins. We further observed decreased phosphorylation of AKT, ERK1/2 and PP1, and increased phosphorylation of p38 and JNK, suggesting that amiloride treatment down-regulates kinases and up-regulates phosphatases in the signal pathways known to affect splicing factor protein phosphorylation. These amiloride effects of "normalized" oncogenic RNA splicing and splicing factor hypo-phosphorylation were both abrogated by pre-treatment with a PP1 inhibitor. Global exon array of amiloride-treated Huh-7 cells detected splicing pattern changes involving 584 exons in 551 gene transcripts, many of which encode proteins playing key roles in ion transport, cellular matrix formation, cytoskeleton remodeling, and genome maintenance. Cellular functional analyses revealed subsequent invasion and migration defects, cell cycle disruption, cytokinesis impairment, and lethal DNA degradation in amiloride-treated Huh-7 cells. Other human solid tumor and leukemic cells, but not a few normal cells, showed similar amiloride-altered RNA splicing with devitalized consequence. This study thus provides mechanistic underpinnings for exploiting small molecule modulation of RNA splicing for cancer therapeutics.

Jia R, Li C, McCoy JP, et al.
SRp20 is a proto-oncogene critical for cell proliferation and tumor induction and maintenance.
Int J Biol Sci. 2010; 6(7):806-26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor cells display a different profile of gene expression than their normal counterparts. Perturbations in the levels of cellular splicing factors can alter gene expression, potentially leading to tumorigenesis. We found that splicing factor SRp20 (SFRS3) is highly expressed in cancers. SRp20 regulated the expression of Forkhead box transcription factor M1 (FoxM1) and two of its transcriptional targets, PLK1 and Cdc25B, and controlled cell cycle progression and proliferation. Cancer cells with RNAi-mediated reduction of SRp20 expression exhibited G2/M arrest, growth retardation, and apoptosis. Increased SRp20 expression in rodent fibroblasts promoted immortal cell growth and transformation. More importantly, we found that SRp20 promoted tumor induction and the maintenance of tumor growth in nude mice and rendered immortal rodent fibroblasts tumorigenic. Collectively, these results suggest that increased SRp20 expression in tumor cells is a critical step for tumor initiation, progression, and maintenance.

Piekielko-Witkowska A, Wiszomirska H, Wojcicka A, et al.
Disturbed expression of splicing factors in renal cancer affects alternative splicing of apoptosis regulators, oncogenes, and tumor suppressors.
PLoS One. 2010; 5(10):e13690 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common type of renal cancer. One of the processes disturbed in this cancer type is alternative splicing, although phenomena underlying these disturbances remain unknown. Alternative splicing consists of selective removal of introns and joining of residual exons of the primary transcript, to produce mRNA molecules of different sequence. Splicing aberrations may lead to tumoral transformation due to synthesis of impaired splice variants with oncogenic potential. In this paper we hypothesized that disturbed alternative splicing in ccRCC may result from improper expression of splicing factors, mediators of splicing reactions.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using real-time PCR and Western-blot analysis we analyzed expression of seven splicing factors belonging to SR proteins family (SF2/ASF, SC35, SRp20, SRp75, SRp40, SRp55 and 9G8), and one non-SR factor, hnRNP A1 (heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1) in 38 pairs of tumor-control ccRCC samples. Moreover, we analyzed splicing patterns of five genes involved in carcinogenesis and partially regulated by analyzed splicing factors: RON, CEACAM1, Rac1, Caspase-9, and GLI1.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We found that the mRNA expression of splicing factors was disturbed in tumors when compared to paired controls, similarly as levels of SF2/ASF and hnRNP A1 proteins. The correlation coefficients between expression levels of specific splicing factors were increased in tumor samples. Moreover, alternative splicing of five analyzed genes was also disturbed in ccRCC samples and splicing pattern of two of them, Caspase-9 and CEACAM1 correlated with expression of SF2/ASF in tumors. We conclude that disturbed expression of splicing factors in ccRCC may possibly lead to impaired alternative splicing of genes regulating tumor growth and this way contribute to the process of carcinogenesis.

He X, Arslan AD, Pool MD, et al.
Knockdown of splicing factor SRp20 causes apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells and its expression is associated with malignancy of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(3):356-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our previous study revealed that two splicing factors, polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and SRp20, were upregulated in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and knockdown of PTB expression inhibited ovarian tumor cell growth and transformation properties. In this report, we show that knockdown of SRp20 expression in ovarian cancer cells also causes substantial inhibition of tumor cell growth and colony formation in soft agar and the extent of such inhibition appeared to correlate with the extent of suppression of SRp20. Massive knockdown of SRp20 expression triggered remarkable apoptosis in these cells. These results suggest that overexpression of SRp20 is required for ovarian tumor cell growth and survival. Immunohistochemical staining for PTB and SRp20 of two specialized tissue microarrays, one containing benign ovarian tumors, borderline/low malignant potential (LMP) ovarian tumors as well as invasive EOC and the other containing invasive EOC ranging from stage I to stage IV disease, reveals that PTB and SRp20 are both expressed differentially between benign tumors and invasive EOC, and between borderline/LMP tumors and invasive EOC. There were more all-negative or mixed staining cases (at least two evaluable section cores per case) in benign tumors than in invasive EOC, whereas there were more all-positive staining cases in invasive EOC than in the other two disease classifications. Among invasive EOC, the majority of cases were stained all positive for both PTB and SRp20, and there were no significant differences in average staining or frequency of positive cancer cells between any of the tumor stages. Therefore, the expression of PTB and SRp20 is associated with malignancy of ovarian tumors but not with stage of invasive EOC.

McFarlane M, Graham SV
Human papillomavirus regulation of SR proteins.
Biochem Soc Trans. 2010; 38(4):1116-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Splicing is a cellular process essential for mRNA biogenesis. There are two types of splicing: constitutive and alternative splicing. During constitutive splicing, non-coding intron sequences are removed and exonic coding sequences are spliced together to form mature mRNAs. Alternative splicing can maximize the coding capacity of the genome by specific alternative selection of exons from multi-exon metazoan pre-mRNAs. Splicing is a tightly regulated process, so when control is lost disease may occur. SR proteins (serine/arginine-rich proteins) are a family of highly conserved splicing regulators that are also involved in other steps in RNA biogenesis and expression. Many viruses have evolved to utilize the cellular splicing machinery to enhance their proteome from a limited number of genes. HPV (human papillomavirus) is an example of one such virus. The HPV transcription/replication factor E2 (early 2) specifically up-regulates expression of the SR proteins SF2/ASF (splicing factor 2/alternative splicing factor), SRp20 and SC35 in infected epithelial cells. These SR proteins are essential for viral RNA processing. SF2/ASF is a proto-oncogene that is also up-regulated in a number of cancers. For example, SF2/ASF, together with SRp20 and SC35 is selectively up-regulated in cervical tumours caused by persistent oncogenic HPV infection. However, the mode of SR protein up-regulation in tumours is different to the E2-directed transcriptional regulation in normal transient HPV infection. SR proteins could provide excellent targets for HPV antiviral therapy as well as anticancer therapy.

Mole S, McFarlane M, Chuen-Im T, et al.
RNA splicing factors regulated by HPV16 during cervical tumour progression.
J Pathol. 2009; 219(3):383-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The most prevalent human papillomaviruses (HPVs) causing cervical disease are the 'high-risk' HPV types 16 and 18. All papillomaviruses express a transcription factor, E2, that can regulate viral and cellular gene expression. Recently, we demonstrated high-risk HPV E2-mediated transcriptional transactivation of SF2/ASF. This essential oncoprotein is a key member of a family of proteins, the SR proteins, that regulate constitutive and alternative splicing. Tight control of RNA splicing is necessary for the production of wild-type proteins. So, aberrant expression of SR proteins is involved in the aetiology of a range of human diseases, including cancer. Here we demonstrate epithelial differentiation-specific control of SF2/ASF in HPV16-infected keratinocytes in organotypic raft culture and in low-grade cervical lesions (CIN1). Further, we demonstrate HPV16 infection/differentiation-induced up-regulation of a specific subset of SR proteins and present evidence that HPV16 E2 controls expression of SRp20, SC35 and SRp75. Using a series of cell lines that model cervical tumour progression, we show that SF2/ASF, SRp20 and SC35 are specifically up-regulated in a model of cervical tumour progression. These SR proteins are also over-expressed in high-grade cervical lesions, indicating that they may all have oncogenic functions. SR proteins could be useful biomarkers for HPV-associated disease.

Gonçalves V, Matos P, Jordan P
Antagonistic SR proteins regulate alternative splicing of tumor-related Rac1b downstream of the PI3-kinase and Wnt pathways.
Hum Mol Genet. 2009; 18(19):3696-707 [PubMed] Related Publications
The small GTPase Rac1 regulates signaling pathways controlling actin-dependent cell motility as well as gene transcription. An alternative splicing variant Rac1b is overexpressed in a subset of colorectal tumors and is required to sustain tumor cell viability. Thus, it is of therapeutic interest to understand the molecular mechanism behind the overexpression of Rac1b through alternative splicing. Here we describe that ASF/SF2 and SRp20 are two antagonistic splicing factors regulating Rac1b expression in colorectal tumor cells. Using an Rac1 minigene, we identified that SRp20 increased skipping of alternative exon 3b in HT29 colorectal cells, whereas ASF/SF2 increased its inclusion. The depletion of the endogenous expression of these splicing factors by specific small interfering RNA confirmed that ASF/SF2 acts as an enhancer of endogenous Rac1b splicing, whereas SRp20 acts as a silencer. Point mutations in exon 3b defined two adjacent regulatory regions required for skipping or inclusion of exon 3b, which are recognized in vitro by SRp20 and ASF/SF2, respectively. Both splicing factors were found to be regulated by upstream signaling pathways: the inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway increased protein levels of ASF/SF2 and promoted Rac1b, whereas activation of beta-catenin/TCF4 increased expression of SRp20 and inhibited that of Rac1b. Together, these data reveal that signaling pathways act in concert to target independent splicing factors and achieve the correct combinatorial code to regulate alternative splicing of the small GTPase Rac1.

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