Positive control of pre-mRNA splicing in vitro

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Science  10 Apr 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5054, pp. 237-240
DOI: 10.1126/science.1566072


Positive control of the sex-specific alternative splicing of doublesex (dsx) precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) in Drosophila melanogaster involves the activation of a female-specific 3' splice site by the products of the transformer (tra) and transformer-2 (tra-2) genes. The mechanisms of this process were investigated in an in vitro system in which the female-specific 3' splice site could be activated by recombinant Tra or Tra-2 (or both). An exon sequence essential for regulation in vivo was shown to be both necessary and sufficient for activation in vitro. Nuclear proteins in addition to Tra and Tra-2 were found to bind specifically to this exon sequence. Therefore, Tra and Tra-2 may act by promoting the assembly of a multiprotein complex on the exon sequence. This complex may facilitate recognition of the adjacent 3' splice site by the splicing machinery.