Different isoforms of a protein complex termed the apoptosis- and splicing-associated protein (ASAP) were isolated from HeLa cell extract. ASAP complexes are composed of the polypeptides SAP18 and RNPS1 and different isoforms of the Acinus protein. While Acinus had previously been implicated in apoptosis and was recently identified as a component of the spliceosome, RNPS1 has been described as a general activator of RNA processing. Addition of ASAP isoforms to in vitro splicing reactions inhibits RNA processing mediated by ASF/SF2, by SC35, or by RNPS1. Additionally, microinjection of ASAP complexes into mammalian cells resulted in acceleration of cell death. Importantly, after induction of apoptosis the ASAP complex disassembles. Taken together, our results suggest an important role for the ASAP complexes in linking RNA processing and apoptosis.
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