Predicted changes in pre-mRNA secondary structure vary in their association with exon skipping for mutations in exons 2, 4, and 8 of the Hprt gene and exon 51 of the fibrillin gene

Mutat Res. 2000 Feb;432(1-2):15-32. doi: 10.1016/s1383-5726(99)00011-4.


Exon skipping that accompanies exonic mutation might be caused by an effect of the mutation on pre-mRNA secondary structure. Previous attempts to associate predicted secondary structure of pre-mRNA with exon skipping have been hindered by either a small number of available mutations, sub-optimal structures, or weak effects on exon skipping. This report identifies more extensive sets of mutations from the human and hamster Hprt gene whose association with exon skipping is clear. Optimal secondary structures of the wild-type and mutant pre-mRNA surrounding each exon were predicted by energy minimization and were compared by energy dot plots. A significant association was found between the occurrence of exon skipping and the disruption of a stem containing the acceptor site consensus sequences of exon 8 of the human Hprt gene. However, no change in secondary structure was associated with skipping of exon 4 of the hamster Hprt gene. Using updated energy parameters we found a different structure than that previously reported for exon 2 of the hamster Hprt gene. In contrast to the previously reported structure, no significant association was found between predicted structural changes and skipping of exon 2. For all three Hprt exons studied, there was a significantly greater number of deoxythymidine substitutions among mutations accompanied by exon skipping than among mutations without exon skipping. For exon 8, deoxythymidine substitution was also associated with structural changes in the stem containing the acceptor site consensus sequences. For exon 51 of the human fibrillin gene, structural differences from wild type were predicted for all four mutations accompanied by exon skipping that were not were predicted for a single mutation without exon skipping. Our results suggest that both primary and secondary pre-mRNA structure contribute to definition of Hprt exons, which may involve exonic splicing enhancers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Databases, Factual
  • Exons
  • Fibrillins
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • RNA Precursors / chemistry*
  • RNA Precursors / genetics


  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • RNA Precursors
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase