Alternative Splicing of Xenopus α[sub fast]-Tropomyosin Pre-mRNA during Development: Identification of Determining Sequences

Lesimple, Michelle; Allo, Marie-Rose; Hardy, Serge; Duriez, Patrick
June 2000
DNA & Cell Biology;Jun2000, Vol. 19 Issue 6, p365
Academic Journal
The Xenopus α[sub fast]-tropomyosin gene contains in its central part a set of mutually exclusive exons, designated 6A and 6B, which are incorporated into mRNA encoding, respectively, nonmuscle and muscle tropomyosins. In this study, we show that usage of both exons is strictly regulated during development, exon 6A being used in the oocyte and nonmuscle tissues of the embryo, while exon 6B is used in muscle tissues. An approach of transient embryo transgenesis was developed to study the mechanisms involved in the splice site choice during development. We demonstrate that α-tropomyosin minigenes driven by tissue-specific promoters that target gene expression in nonmuscle and muscle tissues recapitulate the splicing pattern of the endogenous gene. A mutational analysis showed that regulation occurred at both exons 6A and 6B in muscle and nonmuscle tissues. In this context, we have identified an element located in the intron downstream of 6A that participates in the recognition of the weak 5' splice site of exon 6A and the repression of exon 6B in nonmuscle cells.


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