RNA secondary structures have been increasingly recognized to play an important regulatory role in post-transcriptional gene regulation. We recently showed that RNA G-quadruplexes, which serve as cis-elements to recruit splicing factors, play a critical role in regulating alternative splicing during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In this study, we performed a high-throughput screen using a dual-color splicing reporter to identify chemical compounds capable of regulating G-quadruplex-dependent alternative splicing. We identify emetine and its analog cephaeline as small molecules that disrupt RNA G-quadruplexes, resulting in inhibition of G-quadruplex-dependent alternative splicing. Transcriptome analysis reveals that emetine globally regulates alternative splicing, including splicing of variable exons that contain splice site-proximal G-quadruplexes. Our data suggest the use of emetine and cephaeline for investigating mechanisms of G-quadruplex-associated alternative splicing.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.