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A G-rich element forms a G-quadruplex and regulates BACE1 mRNA alternative splicing

A G-rich element forms a G-quadruplex and regulates BACE1 mRNA alternative splicing

Journal of Neurochemistry 121(5): 763-773

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-3042

PMID: 22303960

DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2012.07680.x

β-Site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the transmembrane aspartyl protease that catalyzes the first cleavage step in the proteolysis of the APP to the amyloid β-protein (Aβ), a process involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. BACE1 pre-mRNA undergoes complex alternative splicing, the regulation of which is not well understood. We identified a G-rich sequence within exon 3 of BACE1 involved in controlling splice site selection. Mutation of the G-rich sequence decreased use of the normal 5' splice site of exon 3, which leads to full-length and proteolytically active BACE1, and increased use of an alternative splice site, which leads to a shorter, essentially inactive isoform. Nuclease protection assays, nuclear magnetic resonance, and circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed that this sequence folds into a G-quadruplex structure. Several proteins were identified as capable of binding to the G-rich sequence, and one of these, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H, was found to regulate BACE1 exon 3 alternative splicing and in a manner dependent on the G-rich sequence. Knockdown of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H led to a decrease in the full-length BACE1 mRNA isoform as well as a decrease in Aβ production from APP, suggesting new possibilities for therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer's disease.

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Accession: 036332638

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