Repression of prespliceosome complex formation at two distinct steps by fox-1/fox-2 proteins

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Precise and robust regulation of alternative splicing provides cells with an essential means of gene expression control. However, the mechanisms that ensure the tight control of tissue-specific alternative splicing are not well understood. It has been demonstrated that robust regulation often results from the contributions of multiple factors to one particular splicing pathway. We report here a novel strategy used by a single splicing regulator that blocks the formation of two distinct prespliceosome complexes to achieve efficient regulation. Fox-1/Fox-2 proteins, potent regulators of alternative splicing in the heart, skeletal muscle, and brain, repress calcitonin-specific splicing of the calcitonin/CGRP pre-mRNA. Using biochemical analysis, we found that Fox-1/Fox-2 proteins block prespliceosome complex formation at two distinct steps through binding to two functionally important UGCAUG elements. First, Fox-1/Fox-2 proteins bind to the intronic site to inhibit SF1-dependent E' complex formation. Second, these proteins bind to the exonic site to block the transition of E' complex that escaped the control of the intronic site to E complex. These studies provide evidence for the first example of regulated E' complex formation. The two-step repression of presplicing complexes by a single regulator provides a powerful and accurate regulatory strategy.

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