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Free Content The circadian clock regulated RNA-binding protein AtGRP7 autoregulates its expression by influencing alternative splicing of its own pre-mRNA

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The clock-regulated RNA-binding protein AtGRP7 is part of a negative feedback circuit through which the protein influences circadian oscillations of its own transcript. Constitutive overexpression of AtGRP7 in transgenic plants leads to the appearance of a low amount of an alternatively spliced Atgrp7 transcript with a premature stop codon. It is generated by the use of a 5′ cryptic splice site in the middle of the intron at the expense of the fully spliced mRNA, indicating a role for AtGRP7 in splice site selection. Accelerated decay of this transcript accounts for its low steady state abundance. This implicates a mechanism for the AtGRP7 feedback loop: Atgrp7 expression is downregulated, as AtGRP7 protein accumulates over the circadian cycle, partly by the generation of an alternate transcript that due to its instability does not accumulate to high levels and does not produce a functional protein. Recombinant AtGRP7 protein specifically interacts with the 3′ untranslated region and the intron of its transcript, suggesting that the shift in splice site selection and downregulation involves binding of AtGRP7 to its pre-mRNA. AtGRP7 also influences the choice of splice sites in the Atgrp8 transcript encoding a related RNA-binding protein, favoring the production of an alternatively spliced, unstable Atgrp8 transcript. This conservation points to the importance of this regulatory mechanism to control the level of the clock-regulated glycine-rich RNA-binding proteins and shows how AtGRP7 can control abundance of target transcripts.
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Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; alternative splicing; circadian rhythm; negative feedback loop

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften, ETH, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland, and

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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