Nature paper involving EURASNET groups

A paper on alternative splicing and circadian rhythms in a model plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) and in a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) was published in Nature online on the 21 October 2010.

The lead groups are those of Marcelo Yanovsky (IFEVA, Facultad de Agronomía, UBA-CONICET and the Fundación Instituto Leloir, IIBBA-CONICET) and Alberto Kornblihtt (IFIBYNE, FCEyN, UBA-CONICET) both from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The research involves the groups of Alberto Kornblihtt and John Brown (University of Dundee@SCRI) who are both members of EURASNET (the European Alternative Splicing Network of Excellence).

The paper shows that a protein, called PRMT5, is very important in the control of alternative splicing of many genes in both plants and flies. In Arabidopsis, the circadian clock controls PRMT5 expression and this constitutes a mechanism through which the clock controls some alternative splicing events in downstream genes. In Drosophila melanogaster, circadian rhythms in locomotor activity are also disrupted in a mutant of the Drosophila that doeas not contain the PRMT5 protein. The changes in circadian rhythms are associated with altered splicing of the Drosophila core-clock gene period and several clock-associated genes. In summary, interactions between the circadian clock and the regulation of alternative splicing by PRMT5 constitutes a common mechanism that helps organisms to synchronize physiological processes with daily changes in environmental conditions.