, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 571-581

The Arabidopsis splicing factor SR1 is regulated by alternative splicing

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Abstract

The serine-arginine (SR)-rich splicing factors play essential roles in general splicing and regulate alternative splice site utilization in a concentration-dependent manner. SR1 is a plant homologue of the human general/alternative splicing factor SF2/ASF. We report here that alternative splicing regulates SR1 itself. Of the five detected SR1 transcripts only one encodes the full-length protein, while the other four are different variants of the essential arginine-serine-rich domain. The data suggest that SR1 pre-mRNA could be committed to two alternate splicing pathways. One, dependent on the alternative utilization of competing 3′ splice sites in intron 9, generates SR1, SR1B and SR1C. The other, regulated by suppression of intron 9 5′ splice site utilization, generates SR1D and SR1E. The splicing pattern and molecular structure of SR1D indicates an evolutionary conservation of splicing-based regulation between plants and vertebrates and suggests that the various isoforms perform important functions. Results from transient gene expression assays indicate that alternative splicing is not an autoregulatory mechanism used to control the transcript level of the full-length protein. The ratio of SR1/SR1B transcripts, which are generated by alternative 3′ splice site utilization in intron 9, is under temperature control. The temperature-dependent increase in SR1B/SR1 ratio suggests a role of SR1B in the adaptation to high-temperature environments. In addition, based on the regulated co-expression of SR1 transcripts, it is possible that some SR1 functions could be determined by the combinatorial action of the various isoforms.