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Tang, Z., Alaei, Tsurumi, A., C., Wilson, C., S., Chiu, C., Oya, J., and Ngo, B. . 2007. Dsk1 Kinase Phosphorylates SR Proteins and Regulates Their Cellular Localization in Fission Yeast. . Biochemical Journal 405 (1): 21-30. Full Article

Evolutionarily conserved SR (serine-arginine rich) proteins are important factors for alternative splicing and their activity is modulated by SR protein-specific kinases (SRPKs). We previously identified Dsk1p as the orthologue of human SRPK1 in fission yeast. In addition to its similarity of gene structure to higher eukaryotes, fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is a unicellular eukaryotic organism in which alternative splicing takes place. In this study, we have revealed for the first time that SR proteins, Srp1p and Srp2p, are the in vivo substrates of Dsk1p in S. pombe. Moreover, the cellular localization of the SR proteins and Prp2p splicing factor is dependent on dsk1+: Dsk1p is required for the efficient nuclear localization of Srp2p and Prp2p, while it promotes the cytoplasmic distribution of Srp1p, thereby differentially influencing the destinations of these proteins in the cell. This work offers the first biochemical and genetic evidence for the in vivo targets of the SRPK1 orthologue, Dsk1p, in S. pombe and the significant correlation between Dsk1p-mediated phosphorylation and the cellular localization of the SR proteins, providing information about the physiological functions of Dsk1p. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that the regulatory function of SRPKs in the nuclear targeting of SR proteins is conserved from fission yeast to human, indicating a general mechanism of reversible phosphorylation to control the activities of SR proteins in RNA metabolism through cellular partitioning.

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