An interaction between U2AF 65 and CF I(m) links the splicing and 3' end processing machineries.
ABSTRACT: The protein factor U2 snRNP Auxiliary Factor (U2AF) 65 is an essential component required for splicing and involved in the coupling of splicing and 3' end processing of vertebrate pre-mRNAs. Here we have addressed the mechanisms by which U2AF 65 stimulates pre-mRNA 3' end processing. We identify an arginine/serine-rich region of U2AF 65 that mediates an interaction with an RS-like alternating charge domain of the 59 kDa subunit of the human cleavage factor I (CF I(m)), an essential 3' processing factor that functions at an early step in the recognition of the 3' end processing signal. Tethered functional analysis shows that the U2AF 65/CF I(m) 59 interaction stimulates in vitro 3' end cleavage and polyadenylation. These results therefore uncover a direct role of the U2AF 65/CF I(m) 59 interaction in the functional coordination of splicing and 3' end processing.
Project description:U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein auxiliary factor (U2AF) is an essential component of the splicing machinery that is composed of two protein subunits, the 35 kDa U2AF(35) (U2AF1) and the 65 kDa U2AF(65) (U2AF2). U2AF interacts with various splicing factors within this machinery. Here we expand the list of mammalian splicing factors that are known to interact with U2AF(65) as well as the list of nuclear proteins not known to participate in splicing that interact with U2AF(65). Using a yeast two-hybrid system, we found fourteen U2AF(65)-interacting proteins. The validity of the screen was confirmed by identification of five known U2AF(65)-interacting proteins, including its heterodimeric partner, U2AF(35). In addition to binding these known partners, we found previously unrecognized U2AF(65) interactions with four splicing-related proteins (DDX39, SFRS3, SFRS18, SNRPA), two zinc finger proteins (ZFP809 and ZC3H11A), a U2AF(65) homolog (RBM39), and two other regulatory proteins (DAXX and SERBP1). We report which regions of U2AF(65) each of these proteins interacts with and we discuss their potential roles in regulation of pre-mRNA splicing, 3'-end mRNA processing, and U2AF(65) sub-nuclear localization. These findings suggest expanded roles for U2AF(65) in both splicing and non-splicing functions.
Project description:The essential splicing factor U2AF (U2 auxiliary factor) is a heterodimer composed of 65-kDa (U2AF(65)) and 35-kDa (U2AF(35)) subunits. U2AF(35) has multiple functions in pre-mRNA splicing. First, U2AF(35) has been shown to function by directly interacting with the AG at the 3' splice site. Second, U2AF(35) is thought to play a role in the recruitment of U2AF(65) by serine-arginine-rich (SR) proteins in enhancer-dependent splicing. It has been proposed that the physical interaction between the arginine-serine-rich (RS) domain of U2AF(35) and SR proteins is important for this activity. However, other data suggest that this may not be the case. Here, we report the identification of a mammalian gene that encodes a 26-kDa protein bearing strong sequence similarity to U2AF(35), designated U2AF(26). The N-terminal 187 amino acids of U2AF(35) and U2AF(26) are nearly identical. However, the C-terminal domain of U2AF(26) lacks many characteristics of the U2AF(35) RS domain and, therefore, might be incapable of interacting with SR proteins. We show that U2AF(26) can associate with U2AF(65) and can functionally substitute for U2AF(35) in both constitutive and enhancer-dependent splicing, demonstrating that the RS domain of the small U2AF subunit is not required for splicing enhancer function. Finally, we show that U2AF(26) functions by enhancing the binding of U2AF(65) to weak 3' splice sites. These studies identify U2AF(26) as a mammalian splicing factor and demonstrate that distinct U2AF complexes can participate in pre-mRNA splicing. Based on its sequence and functional similarity to U2AF(35), U2AF(26) may play a role in regulating alternative splicing.
Project description:The large subunit of the U2 auxiliary factor (U2AF) recognizes the polypyrimidine tract (Py-tract) located adjacent to the 3' splice site to facilitate U2 snRNP recruitment. While U2AF is considered essential for pre-mRNA splicing, its requirement for splicing on a genome-wide level has not been analyzed. Using Solexa sequencing, we performed mRNA profiling for splicing in the Schizosaccharomyces pombe U2AF(59) (prp2.1) temperature-sensitive mutant. Surprisingly, our analysis revealed that introns show a range of splicing defects in the mutant strain. While U2AF(59) inactivation (nonpermissive) conditions inhibit splicing of some introns, others are spliced apparently normally. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that U2AF(59)-insensitive introns have stronger 5' splice sites and higher A/U content. Most importantly, features that contribute to U2AF(59) insensitivity of an intron unexpectedly reside in its 5'-most 30 nucleotides. These include the 5' splice site, a guanosine at position 7, and the 5' splice site-to-branch point sequence context. A differential requirement (similar to U2AF(59)) for introns may also apply to other general splicing factors (e.g., prp10). Our combined results indicate that U2AF insensitivity is a common phenomenon and that varied intron features support the existence of unrecognized aspects of spliceosome assembly.
Project description:Pre-mRNA splicing is a crucial step in gene expression, and accurate recognition of splice sites is an essential part of this process. Splice sites with weak matches to the consensus sequences are common, though it is not clear how such sites are efficiently utilized. Using an in vitro splicing-complementation approach, we identified PUF60 as a factor that promotes splicing of an intron with a weak 3' splice-site. PUF60 has homology to U2AF(65), a general splicing factor that facilitates 3' splice-site recognition at the early stages of spliceosome assembly. We demonstrate that PUF60 can functionally substitute for U2AF(65)in vitro, but splicing is strongly stimulated by the presence of both proteins. Reduction of either PUF60 or U2AF(65) in cells alters the splicing pattern of endogenous transcripts, consistent with the idea that regulation of PUF60 and U2AF(65) levels can dictate alternative splicing patterns. Our results indicate that recognition of 3' splice sites involves different U2AF-like molecules, and that modulation of these general splicing factors can have profound effects on splicing.
Project description:The general splicing factor U2AF(65) recognizes the polypyrimidine tract (Py tract) that precedes 3' splice sites and has three RNA recognition motifs (RRMs). The C-terminal RRM (RRM3), which is highly conserved, has been proposed to contribute to Py-tract binding and establish protein-protein contacts with splicing factors mBBP/SF1 and SAP155. Unexpectedly, we find that the human RRM3 domain is dispensable for U2AF(65) activity in vitro. However, it has an essential function in Schizosaccharomyces pombe distinct from binding to the Py tract or to mBBP/SF1 and SAP155. First, deletion of RRM3 from the human protein has no effect on Py-tract binding. Second, RRM123 and RRM12 select similar sequences from a random pool of RNA. Third, deletion of RRM3 has no effect on the splicing activity of U2AF(65) in vitro. However, deletion of the RRM3 domain of S. pombe U2AF(59) abolishes U2AF function in vivo. In addition, certain amino acid substitutions on the four-stranded beta-sheet surface of RRM3 compromise U2AF function in vivo without affecting binding to mBBP/SF1 or SAP155 in vitro. We propose that RRM3 has an unrecognized function that is possibly relevant for the splicing of only a subset of cellular introns. We discuss the implications of these observations on previous models of U2AF function.
Project description:The U2 snRNP auxiliary factor (U2AF) is an essential splicing factor composed of two subunits, a large, 65-kDa subunit (U2AF(65)) and a small subunit, U2AF(35). U2AF(65) binds to the polypyrimidine tract upstream from the 3' splice site and promotes U2 snRNP binding to the pre-mRNA. Based on in vitro studies, it has been proposed that U2AF(35) plays a role in assisting U2AF(65) recruitment to nonconsensus polypyrimidine tracts. Here we have analyzed in vivo the roles of the two subunits of U2AF in the selection between alternative 3' splice sites associated with polypyrimidine tracts of different strengths. Our results reveal a feedback mechanism by which RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated depletion of U2AF(65) triggers the downregulation of U2AF(35). We further show that the knockdown of each U2AF subunit inhibits weak 3' splice site recognition, while overexpression of U2AF(65) alone is sufficient to activate the selection of this splice site. A variant of U2AF(65) lacking the interaction domain with U2AF(35) shows a reduced ability to promote this splicing event, suggesting that recognition of the weak 3' splice site involves the U2AF heterodimer. Furthermore, our data suggest that, rather than being required for splicing of all pre-mRNA substrates containing a weak polypyrimidine tract, U2AF(35) regulates the selection of weak 3' splice sites in a specific subset of cellular transcripts.
Project description:How the essential pre-mRNA splicing factor U2AF(65) recognizes the polypyrimidine (Py) signals of the major class of 3' splice sites in human gene transcripts remains incompletely understood. We determined four structures of an extended U2AF(65)-RNA-binding domain bound to Py-tract oligonucleotides at resolutions between 2.0 and 1.5 Å. These structures together with RNA binding and splicing assays reveal unforeseen roles for U2AF(65) inter-domain residues in recognizing a contiguous, nine-nucleotide Py tract. The U2AF(65) linker residues between the dual RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) recognize the central nucleotide, whereas the N- and C-terminal RRM extensions recognize the 3' terminus and third nucleotide. Single-molecule FRET experiments suggest that conformational selection and induced fit of the U2AF(65) RRMs are complementary mechanisms for Py-tract association. Altogether, these results advance the mechanistic understanding of molecular recognition for a major class of splice site signals.
Project description:Splicing factors SF1 and U2AF associate cooperatively with pre-mRNA and play a crucial role in 3' splice site recognition during early steps of spliceosome assembly. Formation of the active spliceosome subsequently displaces SF1 in a remodeling process that stabilizes the association of U2 snRNP with pre-mRNA. Fluorescence microscopy shows SF1 and U2AF distributed throughout the nucleoplasm, where transcription occurs, with additional concentration in nuclear speckles, where splicing factors accumulate when not engaged in splicing. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis in live cells shows that the mobilities of SF1 and the two subunits of U2AF (U2AF(65) and U2AF(35)) are correlated with the abilities of these proteins to interact with each other. Direct binding of SF1 to U2AF(65) was demonstrated by fluorescence resonance energy transfer in both the nucleoplasm and nuclear speckles. This interaction persisted after transcription inhibition, suggesting that SF1 associates with U2AF in a splicing-independent manner. We propose that SF1 and U2AF form extraspliceosomal complexes before and after taking part in the assembly of catalytic spliceosomes.
Project description:U2 snRNP auxiliary factor 65 kDa (U2AF(65)) is a general splicing factor that contacts polypyrimidine (Py) tract and promotes prespliceosome assembly. In this report, we show that U2AF(65) stimulates alternative exon skipping in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)-related survival motor neuron (SMN) pre-mRNA. A stronger 5' splice-site mutation of alternative exon abolishes the stimulatory effects of U2AF(65). U2AF(65) overexpression promotes its own binding only on the weaker, not the stronger, Py tract. We further demonstrate that U2AF(65) inhibits splicing of flanking introns of alternative exon in both three-exon and two-exon contexts. Similar U2AF(65) effects were observed in Fas (Apo-1/CD95) pre-mRNA. Strikingly, we demonstrate that U2AF(65) even inhibits general splicing of adenovirus major late (Ad ML) or β-globin pre-mRNA. Thus, we conclude that U2AF(65) possesses a splicing Inhibitory function that leads to alternative exon skipping.
Project description:U2AF(65) is essential for pre-mRNA splicing in most eukaryotes. Two consecutive RNA recognition motifs (RRM) of U2AF(65) recognize a polypyrimidine tract at the 3' splice site. Here, we use small-angle X-ray scattering to demonstrate that the tandem U2AF(65) RRMs exhibit a broad range of conformations in the solution ensemble. The majority of U2AF(65) conformations exhibit few contacts between the RRMs, such as observed in the crystal structure. A subpopulation adopts tight inter-RRM contacts, such as independently reported based on paramagnetic relaxation enhancements. These complementary structural methods demonstrate that diverse splice sites have the opportunity to select compact or extended inter-RRM proximities from the U2AF(65) conformational pool.