Recent transcriptome analysis indicates that > 90% of human genes undergo alternative splicing, underscoring the contribution of differential RNA processing to diverse proteomes in higher eukaryotic cells. The polypyrimidine tract-binding protein PTB is a well-characterized splicing repressor, but PTB knockdown causes both exon inclusion and skipping. Genome-wide mapping of PTB-RNA interactions and construction of a functional RNA map now reveal that dominant PTB binding near a competing constitutive splice site generally induces exon inclusion, whereas prevalent binding close to an alternative site often causes exon skipping. This positional effect was further demonstrated by disrupting or creating a PTB-binding site on minigene constructs and testing their responses to PTB knockdown or overexpression. These findings suggest a mechanism for PTB to modulate splice site competition to produce opposite functional consequences, which may be generally applicable to RNA-binding splicing factors to positively or negatively regulate alternative splicing in mammalian cells.
2009 Elsevier Inc.