Alternative splicing in Tau exon 10 generates 3 R- and 4 R-Tau proteoforms, which have equal abundance in healthy adult human brain. Aberrant alternative splicing in Tau exon 10 leads to distortion of the balanced 3 R- and 4 R-Tau expression levels, which is a causal factor to trigger toxic Tau aggregation, neuron dysfunction and patient death in a group of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. Hence, identification of regulators upstream of the Tau exon 10 splicing events are crucial to understanding pathogenic mechanisms driving tauopathies. In this study, we used RNA Antisense Purification with Mass Spectrometry (RAP-MS) analysis to identify RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that interact with the Tau pre-mRNA near exon 10. Among the newly identified RBP candidates, we show that knockdown of hnRNPC induces Tau exon 10 skipping whereas overexpression of hnRNPC promotes Tau exon 10 inclusion. In addition, we show that hnRNPC interacts with the poly-uridine (U-tract) sequences in introns 9 and 10 of Tau pre-mRNA. Mutation of these U-tract motifs abolished binding of hnRNPC with Tau pre-mRNA fragment and blocked its impact on Tau exon 10 inclusion. These findings indicate that hnRNPC binds and utilizes these U-tract motifs located in introns 9 and 10 of Tau pre-mRNA to promote Tau exon 10 inclusion. Intriguingly, high hnRNPC expression level is associated with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a sporadic tauopathy with pathological accumulation of Tau species that contain exon 10, which suggests a putative therapeutic role of hnRNPC for PSP treatment. (Figure presented.).
- RNA antisense purification
- RNA-binding protein
- alternative splicing
- mass spectrometry
- progressive supranuclear palsy