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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phosphorylation regulates in vivo interaction and molecular targeting of serine/arginine-rich pre-mRNA splicing factors.

The SR superfamily of splicing factors and regulators is characterized by arginine/serine (RS)-rich domains, which are extensively modified by phosphorylation in cells. In vitro binding studies revealed that RS domain-mediated protein interactions can be differentially affected by phosphorylation. Taking advantage of the single nonessential SR protein-specific kinase Sky1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we investigated RS domain interactions in vivo using the two-hybrid assay. Strikingly, all RS domain-mediated interactions were abolished by SKY1 deletion and were rescuable by yeast or mammalian SR protein-specific kinases, indicating that phosphorylation has a far greater impact on RS domain interactions in vivo than in vitro. To understand this dramatic effect, we examined the localization of SR proteins and found that SC35 was shifted to the cytoplasm in sky1Delta yeast, although this phenomenon was not obvious with ASF/SF2, indicating that nuclear import of SR proteins may be differentially regulated by phosphorylation. Using a transcriptional repression assay, we further showed that most LexA-SR fusion proteins depend on Sky1p to efficiently recognize the LexA binding site in a reporter, suggesting that molecular targeting of RS domain-containing proteins within the nucleus was also affected. Together, these results reveal multiple phosphorylation-dependent steps for SR proteins to interact with one another efficiently and specifically, which may ultimately determine the splicing activity and specificity of these factors in mammalian cells.[1]


  1. Phosphorylation regulates in vivo interaction and molecular targeting of serine/arginine-rich pre-mRNA splicing factors. Yeakley, J.M., Tronchère, H., Olesen, J., Dyck, J.A., Wang, H.Y., Fu, X.D. J. Cell Biol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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