We identified the rat Sam68-like mammalian protein (rSLM-2), a member of the STAR (signal transduction and activation of RNA) protein family as a novel splicing regulatory protein. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, coimmunoprecipitations, and pull-down assays, we demonstrate that rSLM-2 interacts with various proteins involved in the regulation of alternative splicing, among them the serine/arginine-rich protein SRp30c, the splicing-associated factor YT521-B and the scaffold attachment factor B. rSLM-2 can influence the splicing pattern of the CD44v5, human transformer-2beta and tau minigenes in cotransfection experiments. This effect can be reversed by rSLM-2-interacting proteins. Employing rSLM-2 deletion variants, gel mobility shift assays, and linker scan mutations of the CD44 minigene, we show that the rSLM-2-dependent inclusion of exon v5 of the CD44 pre-mRNA is dependent on a short purine-rich sequence. Because the related protein of rSLM-2, Sam68, is believed to play a role as an adapter protein during signal transduction, we postulate that rSLM-2 is a link between signal transduction pathways and pre-mRNA processing.
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