The importance of alternative splicing in regulating apoptosis has been suggested by findings of functionally antagonistic proteins generated by alternative splicing of several genes involved in apoptosis. Among these, Ich-1 (also named as caspase-2) encodes a member of the caspase family of proteases. Two forms of Ich-1 are produced as a result of alternative splicing: Ich-lL, which causes apoptosis, and Ich-1S, which prevents apoptosis. The precise nature of Ich-1 alternative splicing and its regulation remain unknown. Here, we show that the production of Ich-1L and Ich-1S transcripts results from alternative exclusion or inclusion of a 61- bp exon. Several splicing factors can regulate Ich-1 splicing. Serine- arginine-rich proteins SC35 and ASF/SF2 promote exon skipping, decreasing the ratio of Ich-1S to Ich-1L transcripts; whereas heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 facilitates exon inclusion, increasing this ratio. Furthermore, in cultured cells, SC35 overexpression increases apoptosis; whereas heterogeneous nuclear ribonncleoprotein A1 overexpression decreases apoptosis. These results provide the first direct evidence that splicing factors can regulate Ich-1 alternative splicing and suggest that alternative splicing may be an important regulatory mechanism for apoptosis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Aug 4 1998|
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