Transposon clusters as substrates for aberrant splice-site activation

Alvarez, Maria Elena Vilar and Chivers, Martin and Borovska, Ivana and Monger, Steven and Giannoulatou, Eleni and Kralovicova, Jana and Vorechovsky, Igor (2021) Transposon clusters as substrates for aberrant splice-site activation. RNA Biology, 18 (3). pp.354-367. ISSN 1547-6286

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Transposed elements (TEs) have dramatically shaped evolution of the exon-intron structure and significantly contributed to morbidity, but how recent TE invasions into older TEs cooperate in generating new coding sequences is poorly understood. Employing an updated repository of new exon-intron boundaries induced by pathogenic mutations, termed DBASS, here we identify novel TE clusters that facilitated exon selection. To explore the extent to which such TE exons maintain RNA secondary structure of their progenitors, we carried out structural studies with a composite exon that was derived from a long terminal repeat (LTR78) and AluJ and was activated by a C > T mutation optimizing the 5' splice site. Using a combination of SHAPE, DMS and enzymatic probing, we show that the disease-causing mutation disrupted a conserved AluJ stem that evolved from helix 3.3 (or 5b) of 7SL RNA, liberating a primordial GC 5' splice site from the paired conformation for interactions with the spliceosome. The mutation also reduced flexibility of conserved residues in adjacent exon-derived loops of the central Alu hairpin, revealing a cross-talk between traditional and auxilliary splicing motifs that evolved from opposite termini of 7SL RNA and were approximated by Watson-Crick base-pairing already in organisms without spliceosomal introns. We also identify existing Alu exons activated by the same RNA rearrangement. Collectively, these results provide valuable TE exon models for studying formation and kinetics of pre-mRNA building blocks required for splice-site selection and will be useful for fine-tuning auxilliary splicing motifs and exon and intron size constraints that govern aberrant splice-site activation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2021 05:01
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 05:11

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