The Caenorhabditis elegans gene mfap-1 encodes a nuclear protein that affects alternative splicing

PLoS Genet. 2012;8(7):e1002827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002827. Epub 2012 Jul 19.


RNA splicing is a major regulatory mechanism for controlling eukaryotic gene expression. By generating various splice isoforms from a single pre-mRNA, alternative splicing plays a key role in promoting the evolving complexity of metazoans. Numerous splicing factors have been identified. However, the in vivo functions of many splicing factors remain to be understood. In vivo studies are essential for understanding the molecular mechanisms of RNA splicing and the biology of numerous RNA splicing-related diseases. We previously isolated a Caenorhabditis elegans mutant defective in an essential gene from a genetic screen for suppressors of the rubberband Unc phenotype of unc-93(e1500) animals. This mutant contains missense mutations in two adjacent codons of the C. elegans microfibrillar-associated protein 1 gene mfap-1. mfap-1(n4564 n5214) suppresses the Unc phenotypes of different rubberband Unc mutants in a pattern similar to that of mutations in the splicing factor genes uaf-1 (the C. elegans U2AF large subunit gene) and sfa-1 (the C. elegans SF1/BBP gene). We used the endogenous gene tos-1 as a reporter for splicing and detected increased intron 1 retention and exon 3 skipping of tos-1 transcripts in mfap-1(n4564 n5214) animals. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we isolated splicing factors as potential MFAP-1 interactors. Our studies indicate that C. elegans mfap-1 encodes a splicing factor that can affect alternative splicing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Contractile Proteins / genetics*
  • Exons / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Introns / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA Splice Sites / genetics*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA Splice Sites
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • UAF-1 protein, C elegans
  • Unc-1 protein, C elegans
  • microfibrillar protein