Characterization and Functional Implications of the RNA Binding Properties of Nuclear Factor TDP-43, a Novel Splicing Regulator of CFTR Exon 9

  • Buratti E
  • Baralle F
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Abstract

Variations in a polymorphic (TG)m sequence near exon 9 of the human CFTR gene have been associated with variable proportions of exon skipping and occurrence of disease. We have recently identified nuclear factor TDP-43 as a novel splicing regulator capable of binding to this element in the CFTR pre-mRNA and inhibiting recognition of the neighboring exon. In this study we report the dissection of the RNA binding properties of TDP-43 and their functional implications in relationship with the splicing process. Our results show that this protein contains two fully functional RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains with distinct RNA/DNA binding characteristics. Interestingly, TDP-43 can bind a minimum number of six UG (or TG) single-stranded dinucleotide stretches, and binding affinity increases with the number of repeats. In particular, the highly conserved Phe residues in the first RRM region play a key role in nucleic acid recognition.

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