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School of Medicine




Alternative mRNA splicing is a mechanism to regulate protein isoform expression and is regulated by alternative splicing factors. The alternative splicing factor 45 (SPF45) is overexpressed in cancer, although few biological effects of SPF45 are known, and few splicing targets have been identified. We previously showed that Extracellular Regulated Kinase 2 (ERK2) phosphorylation of SPF45 regulates cell proliferation and adhesion to fibronectin. In this work, we show that Cdc2-like kinase 1 (Clk1) phosphorylates SPF45 on eight serine residues. Clk1 expression enhanced, whereas Clk1 inhibition reduced, SPF45-induced exon 6 exclusion from Fas mRNA. Mutational analysis of the Clk1 phosphorylation sites on SPF45 showed both positive and negative regulation of splicing, with a net effect of inhibiting SPF45-induced exon 6 exclusion, correlating with reduced Fas mRNA binding. However, Clk1 enhanced SPF45 protein expression, but not mRNA expression, whereas inhibition of Clk1 increased SPF45 degradation through a proteasome-dependent pathway. Overexpression of SPF45 or a phospho-mimetic mutant, but not a phospho-inhibitory mutant, stimulated ovarian cancer cell migration and invasion, correlating with increased fibronectin expression, ERK activation and enhanced splicing and phosphorylation of full-length cortactin. Our results demonstrate for the first time that SPF45 overexpression enhances cell migration and invasion, dependent on biochemical regulation by Clk1.

Source Citation

Liu, Y., Conaway, L., Rutherford Bethard, J., Al-Ayoubi, A. M., Thompson Bradley, A., Zheng, H., Weed, S. A., & Eblen, S. T. (2013). Phosphorylation of the alternative mRNA splicing factor 45 (SPF45) by Clk1 regulates its splice site utilization, cell migration and invasion. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(9), 4949–4962.


ß The Author(s) 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( by-nc/3.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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