We have previously reported that efficient removal of the first intron (intron A) of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) pre-mRNA is the prerequisite event for post-transcriptional regulation. In the present study, using an in vitro HeLa splicing system, we examined the enhancing activities of exonic elements for GnRH pre-mRNA splicing. While not excised by exon 2 alone, intron A was efficiently excised when exon 3 and/or exon 4 was combined with exon 2, suggesting the presence of exonic splicing enhancers (ESEs) in exons 3 and 4. Purine-rich sequences located in the border of exons 2 and 3 (denoted ESE3) and in exon 4 (ESE4) revealed strong splicing enhancing activities. Mutation in ESE3 decreased pre-mRNA splicing, while mutation in purine-rich sequences in exon 2 did not. We further analyzed the functional activity of ESE4 by mutations or deletions of the ESE4 sequence that consists of three purine-repeats separated by two spacers and a putative hairpin constructing sequence. An UV cross-linking assay using the RNA sequence of ESE4 examined the presence of ESE4-specific binding proteins in the nuclear extracts from GT1 hypothalamic GnRH neurons. Collectively, this study indicates that a sequence context of ESE4 and its binding proteins may be crucially involved in enhanced GnRH pre-mRNA splicing. However, it should be further clarified as to which splicing factor(s) is responsible for ESE4-dependent GnRH pre-mRNA splicing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The present study was supported in part by the Brain Science and Engineering Research Program sponsored by Korea Ministry of Science and Technology and the Research Grant from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF). J.Y. Seong was a recipient for a research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and J. Han was supported by BK21 Research Fellowship. In part the study was also supported by the DFG (grant JA 398/6-1).
- Intron A
- Purine-rich sequence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology