Imaging the alternative silencing of FGFR2 exon IIIb in vivo.
Alternative splicing multiplies genomic coding capacity and regulates proteomic composition. A well-studied example of this plasticity leads to the synthesis of functionally distinct isoforms of the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-2 (FGFR2). The regulation of this isoform diversity necessitates the silencing of FGFR2 exon IIIb, which is mediated by flanking intronic splicing silencers and the polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB). To visualize this splicing decision in vivo, we developed mice harboring a green fluorescent protein construct that reports on the silencing of exon IIIb. The animals also harbor a red fluorescent protein reporter of constitutive splicing as an allelic control. This dual reporter system revealed that in various organs and cell types the silencing of exon IIIb required the intronic silencers. In neurons, which do not express PTB, we observed robust silencer-dependent repression of exon IIIb, suggesting that the neural paralog, brain PTB, can take over this function. In the epidermis, however, the intronic silencers were not required for efficient silencing. This work provides a first glimpse at splicing regulation among different cell types in vivo and promises the drafting of an anatomic map of splicing decisions.
Bonano, VI; Oltean, S; Brazas, RM; Garcia-Blanco, MA
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