Multiple determinants of splicing repression activity in the polypyrimidine tract binding proteins, PTBP1 and PTBP2

Niroshika M. Keppetipola, Kyu Hyeon Yeom, Adrian L. Hernandez, Tessa Bui, Shalini Sharma, Douglas L. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Most human genes generate multiple protein isoforms through alternative pre-mRNA splicing, but the mechanisms controlling alternative splicing choices by RNA binding proteins are not well understood. These proteins can have multiple paralogs expressed in different cell types and exhibiting different splicing activities on target exons. We examined the paralogous polypyrimidine tract binding proteins PTBP1 and PTBP2 to understand how PTBP1 can exhibit greater splicing repression activity on certain exons. Using both an in vivo coexpression assay and an in vitro splicing assay, we show that PTBP1 is more repressive than PTBP2 per unit protein on a target exon. Constructing chimeras of PTBP1 and 2 to determine amino acid features that contribute to their differential activity, we find that multiple segments of PTBP1 increase the repressive activity of PTBP2. Notably, when either RRM1 of PTBP2 or the linker peptide separating RRM2 and RRM3 are replaced with the equivalent PTBP1 sequences, the resulting chimeras are highly active for splicing repression. These segments are distinct from the known region of interaction for the PTBP1 cofactors Raver1 and Matrin3 in RRM2. We find that RRM2 of PTBP1 also increases the repression activity of an otherwise PTBP2 sequence, and that this is potentially explained by stronger binding by Raver1. These results indicate that multiple features over the length of the two proteins affect their ability to repress an exon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1180
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Alternative splicing
  • RNA binding proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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