Miro J, Laaref AM, Rofidal V, Lagrafeuille R, Hem S, Thorel D, Méchin D, Mamchaoui K, Mouly V, Claustres M, Tuffery-Giraud S
We investigated the molecular mechanisms for in-frame skipping of DMD exon 39 caused by the nonsense c.5480T>A mutation in a patient with Becker muscular dystrophy. RNase-assisted pull down assay coupled with mass spectrometry revealed that the mutant RNA probe specifically recruits hnRNPA1, hnRNPA2/B1 and DAZAP1. Functional studies in a human myoblast cell line transfected with DMD minigenes confirmed the splicing inhibitory activity of hnRNPA1 and hnRNPA2/B1, and showed that DAZAP1, also known to activate splicing, acts negatively in the context of the mutated exon 39. Furthermore, we uncovered that recognition of endogenous DMD exon 39 in muscle cells is promoted by FUSE binding protein 1 (FUBP1), a multifunctional DNA- and RNA-binding protein whose role in splicing is largely unknown. By serial deletion and mutagenesis studies in minigenes, we delineated a functional intronic splicing enhancer (ISE) in intron 38. FUBP1 recruitment to the RNA sequence containing the ISE was established by RNA pull down and RNA EMSA, and further confirmed by RNA-ChIP on endogenous DMD pre-mRNA. This study provides new insights about the splicing regulation of DMD exon 39, highlighting the emerging role of FUBP1 in splicing and describing the first ISE for constitutive exon inclusion in the mature DMD transcript.