New papers from Professor Baralle's lab

Marcucci, R., Romano, M., Feiguin, F., O'Connell, M., Baralle, F.E. Dissecting the splicing mechanism of the Drosophila editing enzyme; dADAR. 2009. Nucleic Acids Res. (in press)


Abstract: In Drosophila melanogaster, the expression of adenosine deaminase acting on RNA is regulated by transcription and alternative splicing so that at least four different isoforms are generated that have a tissue-specific splicing pattern. Even though dAdar has been extensively studied, the complete adult expression pattern has yet to be elucidated. In the present study, we investigate mature transcripts of dAdar arising from different promoters. Two predominant isoforms of dAdar are expressed in gonads and dAdar is transcribed from both the embryonic and the adult promoters.
Furthermore, full-length transcripts containing the alternatively spliced exon-1 are expressed in a tissue-specific manner. The splicing factor B52/SRp55 binds within the alternative spliced exon 3a and plays a role in this alternative splicing event.

Ayala, Y.M., Zago, P., D'Ambrogio, A., Xu, Y.F., Petrucelli, L., Buratti, E., Baralle, F.E. Structural determinants of the cellular localization and shuttling of TDP-43. 2008. J. Cell Sci. 121, 3778-3785
doi: 10.1242/jcs.038950

Abstract: TDP-43 (also known as TARDBP) regulates different processes of gene expression, including transcription and splicing, through RNA and DNA binding. Moreover, recent reports have shown that the protein interacts with the 3' UTRs of specific mRNAs. The aberrant cellular distribution and aggregation of TDP-43 were recently reported in neurodegenerative diseases, namely frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A detailed description of the determinants for cellular localization has yet to emerge, including information on how the known functions of TDP-43 and cellular targeting affect each other. We provide the first experimental evidence that TDP-43 continuously shuttles between nucleus and cytoplasm in a transcription-dependent manner. Furthermore, we investigate the role of the functional TDP-43 domains in determining cellular targeting through a combination of immunofluorescence and biochemical fractionation methods. Our analyses indicate that the C-terminus is essential for solubility and cellular localization, because its deletion results in the formation of large nuclear and cytoplasmic aggregates. Disruption of the RNA-recognition domain required for RNA and DNA binding, however, alters nuclear distribution by decreasing TDP-43 presence in the nucleoplasm. Our findings suggest that TDP-43 solubility and localization are particularly sensitive to disruptions that extend beyond the newly found nuclear localization signal and depend on a combination of factors that are closely connected to the functional properties of this protein.

Raponi, M., Buratti, E., Llorian, M., Stuani, C., Smith, C.W., Baralle, D. Polypyrimidine tract binding protein regulates alternative splicing of an aberrant pseudoexon in NF1. 2008. FEBS J. 275 (24), 6101-6108
doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06734.x

Abstract: In disease-associated genes, understanding the functional significance of deep intronic nucleotide variants represents a difficult challenge. We previously reported that an NF1 intron 30 exonization event is triggered from a single correct nomenclature is 'c.293-279 A>G' mutation [Raponi M, Upadhyaya M & Baralle D (2006) Hum Mutat 27, 294–295]. In this paper, we investigate which characteristics play a role in regulating inclusion of the aberrant pseudoexon. Our investigation shows that pseudoexon inclusion levels are strongly downregulated by polypyrimidine tract binding protein and its homologue neuronal polypyrimidine tract binding protein. In particular, we provide evidence that the functional effect of polypyrimidine tract binding protein is proportional to its concentration, and map the cis-acting elements that are principally responsible for this negative regulation. These results highlight the importance of evaluating local sequence context for diagnostic purposes, and the utility of developing therapies to turn off activated pseudoexons.