Misregulated alternative RNA splicing (AS) contributes to the tumorigenesis and progression of human cancers, including glioblastoma (GBM). Here, we showed that a major splicing factor, serine and arginine rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3), was frequently upregulated in clinical glioma specimens and that elevated SRSF3 was associated with tumor progression and a poor prognosis for patients with glioma. In patient-derived glioma stem-like cells (GSC), SRSF3 expression promoted cell proliferation, self-renewal, and tumorigenesis. Transcriptomic profiling identified more than 1,000 SRSF3-affected AS events, with a preference for exon skipping in genes involved with cell mitosis. Motif analysis identified the sequence of CA(G/C/A)CC(C/A) as a potential exonic splicing enhancer for these SRSF3-regulated exons. To evaluate the biological impact of SRSF3-affected AS events, four candidates were selected whose AS correlated with SRSF3 expression in glioma tissues, and their splicing pattern was modified using a CRISPR/Cas9 approach. Two functionally validated AS candidates were further investigated for the mechanisms underlying their isoform-specific functions. Specifically, following knockout of SRSF3, transcription factor ETS variant 1 (ETV1) gene showed exon skipping at exon 7, while nudE neurodevelopment protein 1 (NDE1) gene showed replacement of terminal exon 9 with a mutually exclusive exon 90. SRSF3-regulated AS of these two genes markedly increased their oncogenic activity in GSCs. Taken together, our data demonstrate that SRSF3 is a key regulator of AS in GBM and that understanding mechanisms of misregulated AS could provide critical insights for developing effective therapeutic strategies against GBMs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research