cis-acting determinants in the control of MuSVts110 RNA splicing

Jerry Rhodes Ainsworth, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Like other simple retroviruses the murine sarcoma virus ts110 (MuSVts110) displays an inefficient mode of genome splicing. But, unlike the splicing phenotypic of other retroviruses, the splicing event effected upon the transcript of MuSVts110 is temperature sensitive. Previous work in this laboratory has established that the conditionally defective nature of MuSVts110 RNA splicing is mediated in cis by features in the viral transcript. Here we show that the 5$\sp\prime$ splice site of the MuSVts110 transcript acts as a point of control of the overall splicing efficiency at both permissive and nonpermissive temperatures for splicing. We strengthened and simultaneously weakened the nucleotide structure of the 5$\sp\prime$ splice site in an attempt to elucidate the differential effects each of the two known critical splicing components which interact with the 5$\sp\prime$ splice site have on the overall efficiency of intron excision. We found that a transversion of the sixth nucleotide, resulting in the formation of a near-consensus 5$\sp\prime$ splice site, dramatically increased the overall efficiency of MuSVts110 RNA splicing and abrogated the thermosensitive nature of this splicing event. Various secondary mutations within this original transversion mutant, designed to selectively decrease specific splicing component interactions, lead to recovery of inefficient and thermosensitive splicing. We have further shown that a sequence of 415 nucleotides lying in the downstream exon of the viral RNA and hypothesized to act as an element in the temperature-dependent inhibition of splicing displays a functional redundancy throughout its length; loss and/or replacement of any one sequence of 100 nucleotides within this sequence does not, with one exception detailed below, diminish the degree to which MuSVts110 RNA is inhibited to splice at the restrictive temperature. One specific deletion, though, fortuitously juxtaposed and activated cryptic consensus splicing signals for the excision of a cryptic intron within the downstream exon and markedly potentiated--across a newly defined cryptic exon--the splicing event effected upon the upstream, native intron. We have exploited this mutant of MuSVts110 to further an understanding of the process of exon definition and intron definition and show that the polypyrimidine tract and consensus 3$\sp\prime$ splice site, as well as the 5$\sp\prime$ splice site, within the intron at the 3$\sp\prime$ flank of the defined exon are required for the exon's definition; implying that definition of the downstream intron is required for the in vivo definition of the proximal, upstream exon. Finally; we have shown, through the construction of heterologous mutants of MuSVts110 employing a foreign 3$\sp\prime$ end-forming sequence, that efficiency of transcript splicing can be increased--to a degree which abrogates its thermosensitive nature--in direct proportion to increasing proximity of the 3$\sp\prime$ end-forming signal to the terminal 3$\sp\prime$ splice site.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Ainsworth, Jerry Rhodes, "cis-acting determinants in the control of MuSVts110 RNA splicing" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9605776.