The dynamics of a pre-mRNA splicing factor in living cells

Nature. 1997 May 29;387(6632):523-7. doi: 10.1038/387523a0.


Pre-mRNA splicing is a predominantly co-transcriptional event which involves a large number of essential splicing factors. Within the mammalian cell nucleus, most splicing factors are concentrated in 20-40 distinct domains called speckles. The function of speckles and the organization of cellular transcription and pre-mRNA splicing in vivo are not well understood. We have investigated the dynamic properties of splicing factors in nuclei of living cells. Here we show that speckles are highly dynamic structures that respond specifically to activation of nearby genes. These dynamic events are dependent on RNA polymerase II transcription, and are sensitive to inhibitors of protein kinases and Ser/Thr phosphatases. When single genes are transcriptionally activated in living cells, splicing factors leave speckles in peripheral extensions and accumulate at the new sites of transcription. We conclude that one function of speckles is to supply splicing factors to active genes. Our observations demonstrate that the interphase nucleus is far more dynamic in nature than previously assumed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • RNA Polymerase II