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Tang, Z., Käufer, N. F., and Lin, R.-J.. 2002. Interactions Between Two Fission Yeast SR-Related Proteins and Their Modulation by Phosphorylation. Biochemical Journal 368: 527-534.

The unexpected low number of genes in the human genome has triggered increasing attention to alternative pre-mRNA splicing, and serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins have been correlated with the complex alternative splicing that is a characteristic of metazoans. SR proteins interact with RNA and splicing protein factors, and they also undergo reversible phosphorylation, thereby regulating constitutive and alternative splicing in mammals and Drosophila. However, it is not clear whether the features of SR proteins and alternative splicing are present in simple and genetically tractable organisms, such as yeasts. In the present study, we show that the SR-like proteins Srp1 and Srp2, found in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, interact with each other and the interaction is modulated by protein phosphorylation. By using Srp1 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid analysis, we specifically isolated Srp2 from a random screen. This Srp interaction was confirmed by a glutathione-S-transferase pull-down assay. We also found that the Srp1�Srp2 complex was phosphorylated at a reduced efficiency by a fission yeast SR-specific kinase, Dis1-suppression kinase (Dsk1). Conversely, Dsk1-mediated phosphorylation inhibited the formation of the Srp complex. These findings offer the first example in fission yeast for interactions between SR-related proteins and the modulation of the interactions by specific protein phosphorylation, suggesting that a mammalian-like SR protein function may exist in fission yeast

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