Topoisomerase I and II inhibitors control caspase-2 pre-messenger RNA splicing in human cells

Solier, S.; Lansiaux, A.; Logette, E.; Wu, J.; Soret, J.; Tazi, J.; Bailly, C.; Desoche, L.; Solary, E.; Corcos, L.

Molecular Cancer Research

2004-01 / vol 2 / pages 53-61


We have recently shown that the topoisomerase II inhibitor, etoposide (VP16), could trigger caspase-2 pre-mRNA splicing in human leukemic cell lines. This leads to increased inclusion of exon 9, which is specifically inserted into the short caspase-2S isoform mRNA and absent from the long caspase-2L isoform mRNA. One of the consequences of this alternative splicing is a decrease in the total amount of the mature form of caspase-2L mRNA and protein. In this study, we analyzed the effects of several representative molecules of various classes of cytotoxic agents on caspase-2 pre-mRNA splicing in both U937 leukemic cells and in HeLa cervix carcinoma cells. Very strikingly, both topoisomerase I (camptothecin and homocamptothecin derivatives) and II (VP16, amsacrine, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone) inhibitors induced exon 9 inclusion. DNA intercalating glycosyl indolocarbazole derivatives as well as DNA alkylating agents, such as cisplatin and melphalan, antimetabolites like 5-fluorouracil, and mitotic spindle poisons like vinblastine had no effect. Therefore, both classes of DNA topoisomerases can control pre-mRNA splicing of the caspase-2 transcript. In addition, the splicing reaction brought about by camptothecin was hampered in human CEM/C2 and in murine P388-45R leukemic deficient in topoisomerase I activity. Conversely, VP16 did not trigger caspase-2 alternative splicing in human HL60/MX2 leukemic cells harboring a mutant topoisomerase II. Minigene transfection analysis revealed that topoisomerase inhibitors did not change the splicing profile when cis-acting elements in intron-9, reported to control exon 9 inclusion independently of drug treatment, were removed. Rather, our experiments suggest that exon 9 inclusion induced by topoisomerase inhibitors reflects the activity exerted by topoisomerase I or II on proteins that control splicing reactions, or their direct involvement in pre-mRNA splicing.



apoptosis; phosphorylation; sr proteins; camptothecin; cytotoxic agents; death; DNA topoisomerases; mechanisms; site; spliceosome

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