Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy

Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy

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Schmid R.,University of Leicester | Grellscheid S.N.,Northumbria University | Grellscheid S.N.,Durham University | Ehrmann I.,Northumbria University | And 12 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2013

Meiosis requires conserved transcriptional changes, but it is not known whether there is a corresponding set of RNA splicing switches. Here, we used RNAseq of mouse testis to identify changes associated with the progression from mitotic spermatogonia to meiotic spermatocytes. We identified ∼150 splicing switches, most of which affect conserved proteincoding exons. The expression of many key splicing regulators changed in the course ofmeiosis, including downregulation of polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTBP1) and heterogeneous nuclear RNP A1, and upregulation of nPTB, Tra2β, muscleblind, CELF proteins, Sam68 and T-STAR. The sequences near the regulated exons were significantly enriched in target sites for PTB, Tra2b and STAR proteins. Reporter minigene experiments investigating representative exons in transfected cells showed that PTB binding sites were critical for splicing of a cassette exon in the Ralgps2 mRNA and a shift in alternative 5' splice site usage in the Bptf mRNA. We speculate that nPTB might functionally replace PTBP1 during meiosis for some target exons, with changes in the expression of other splicing factors helping to establish meiotic splicing patterns.Our data suggest that there are substantial changes in the determinants and patterns of alternative splicing in themitotic-to-meiotic transition of the germ cell cycle. © 2013 The Author(s).


Naro C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Naro C.,Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | Barbagallo F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Barbagallo F.,Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | And 7 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2014

NEK2 is a serine/threonine kinase that promotes centrosome splitting and ensures correct chromosome segregation during the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, through phosphorylation of specific substrates. Aberrant expression and activity of NEK2 in cancer cells lead to dysregulation of the centrosome cycle and aneuploidy. Thus, a tight regulation of NEK2 function is needed during cell cycle progression. In this study, we found that NEK2 localizes in the nucleus of cancer cells derived from several tissues. In particular, NEK2 co-localizes in splicing speckles with SRSF1 and SRSF2. Moreover, NEK2 interacts with several splicing factors and phosphorylates some of them, including the oncogenic SRSF1 protein. Overexpression of NEK2 induces phosphorylation of endogenous SR proteins and affects the splicing activity of SRSF1 toward reporter minigenes and endogenous targets, independently of SRPK1. Conversely, knockdown of NEK2, like that of SRSF1, induces expression of pro-apoptotic variants from SRSF1-target genes and sensitizes cells to apoptosis. Our results identify NEK2 as a novel splicing factor kinase and suggest that part of its oncogenic activity may be ascribed to its ability to modulate alternative splicing, a key step in gene expression regulation that is frequently altered in cancer cells. © The Author(s) 2013.


Naro C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Sette C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Sette C.,Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
International Journal of Cell Biology | Year: 2013

Alternative splicing (AS) is one of the key processes involved in the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic cells. AS catalyzes the removal of intronic sequences and the joining of selected exons, thus ensuring the correct processing of the primary transcript into the mature mRNA. The combinatorial nature of AS allows a great expansion of the genome coding potential, as multiple splice-variants encoding for different proteins may arise from a single gene. Splicing is mediated by a large macromolecular complex, the spliceosome, whose activity needs a fine regulation exerted by cis-acting RNA sequence elements and trans-acting RNA binding proteins (RBP). The activity of both core spliceosomal components and accessory splicing factors is modulated by their reversible phosphorylation. The kinases and phosphatases involved in these posttranslational modifications significantly contribute to AS regulation and to its integration in the complex regulative network that controls gene expression in eukaryotic cells. Herein, we will review the major canonical and noncanonical splicing factor kinases and phosphatases, focusing on those whose activity has been implicated in the aberrant splicing events that characterize neoplastic transformation. © 2013 Chiara Naro and Claudio Sette.

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