Journal Article

Branch site haplotypes that control alternative splicing

Jana Královičová, Sophie Houngninou-Molango, Angela Krämer and Igor Vořechovský

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 13, issue 24, pages 3189-3202
Published in print December 2004 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Branch site haplotypes that control alternative splicing

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We show that the allele-dependent expression of transcripts encoding soluble HLA-DQβ chains is determined by branchpoint sequence (BPS) haplotypes in DQB1 intron 3. BPS RNAs associated with low inclusion of the transmembrane exon in mature transcripts showed impaired binding to splicing factor 1 (SF1), indicating that alternative splicing of DQB1 is controlled by differential BPS recognition early during spliceosome assembly. We also demonstrate that naturally occurring human BPS point mutations that alter splicing and lead to recognizable phenotypes cluster in BP and in position −2 relative to BP, implicating impaired SF1–BPS interactions in disease-associated BPS substitutions. Coding DNA variants produced smaller fluctuations of exon inclusion levels than random exonic substitutions, consistent with a selection against coding mutations that alter their own exonization. Finally, proximal splicing in this multi-allelic reporter system was promoted by at least seven SR proteins and repressed by hnRNPs F, H and I, supporting an extensive antagonism of factors balancing the splice site selection. These results provide the molecular basis for the haplotype-specific expression of soluble DQβ, improve prediction of intronic point mutations and indicate how extraordinary, selection-driven DNA variability in HLA affects pre-mRNA splicing.

Journal Article.  10690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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