Mol Carcinog 2014 Nov 13;53(11):883-92. Epub 2013 Jun 13.
Gynecological Hospital, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.
The ubiquitously expressed splicing factor YT521 (YTHDC1) is characterized by alternatively spliced isoforms with regulatory impact on cancer-associated gene expression. Our recent findings account for the prognostic significance of YT521 in endometrial cancer. In this study, we investigated the hypoxia-dependency of YT521 expression as well as its differential isoform activities on oncological important target genes. YT521's potential regulatory influence on splicing was investigated by a minigene assay for the specific target gene CD44. Functional splicing analysis was performed by YT521 knock-down or overexpression, respectively. In addition, YT521 expression was determined under hypoxia. The two protein-generating YT521 mRNA isoforms 1 and 2 caused a comparable, specific induction of CD44v alternative splicing (P < 0.01). In a number of oncological target genes, YT521 upregulation significantly altered BRCA2 expression pattern, while YT521 knock-down created a significant regulatory impact on PGR expression, respectively. Hypoxia induced a specific switch towards the processing of two non-protein-coding mRNA variants, of which one is described for the first time in this study. The presented study underlines the comparable regulatory potential of both YT521 isoforms 1 and 2, on the investigated target genes in vivo and in vitro. Hypoxia induces a specific switch in YT521 expression pattern towards the two non-protein coding mRNA variants, the already characterized isoform 3 and the newly discovered exon 8-skipping isoform. The altered YT521 alternative splicing is functionally coupled with nonsense-mediated decay and can be interpreted as regulated unproductive splicing and transcription with consecutive impact on the processing of specific cancer-associated genes, such as BRCA2 and PGR.