Synthetic Lethal and Convergent Biological Effects of Cancer-Associated Spliceosomal Gene Mutations

Cancer Cell. 2018 Aug 13;34(2):225-241.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.07.003.


Mutations affecting RNA splicing factors are the most common genetic alterations in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients and occur in a mutually exclusive manner. The basis for the mutual exclusivity of these mutations and how they contribute to MDS is not well understood. Here we report that although different spliceosome gene mutations impart distinct effects on splicing, they are negatively selected for when co-expressed due to aberrant splicing and downregulation of regulators of hematopoietic stem cell survival and quiescence. In addition to this synthetic lethal interaction, mutations in the splicing factors SF3B1 and SRSF2 share convergent effects on aberrant splicing of mRNAs that promote nuclear factor κB signaling. These data identify shared consequences of splicing-factor mutations and the basis for their mutual exclusivity.

Keywords: NF-κB; SF3B1; SRSF2; U2AF1; myelodysplastic syndromes; 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

  • Animals
  • Caspase 8 / genetics
  • Female
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutation*
  • NF-kappa B / physiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • RNA Splicing Factors / genetics
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors / genetics
  • Spliceosomes*


  • NF-kappa B
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA Splicing Factors
  • SF3B1 protein, human
  • SRSF2 protein, human
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • Caspase 8