Alternative splicing of BCL-x is controlled by RBM25 binding to a G-quadruplex in BCL-x pre-mRNA

Nom de la revue
Nucleic Acids Research
Ronan Le Sénéchal, Marc Keruzoré, Alicia Quillévéré, Nadège Loaëc, Van-Trang Dinh, Oksana Reznichenko, Pedro Guixens-Gallardo, Laurent Corcos, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Anton Granzhan, Marc Blondel

BCL-x is a master regulator of apoptosis whose pre-mRNA is alternatively spliced into either a long (canonical) anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL isoform, or a short (alternative) pro-apoptotic Bcl-xS isoform. The balance between these two antagonistic isoforms is tightly regulated and overexpression of Bcl-xL has been linked to resistance to chemotherapy in several cancers, whereas overexpression of Bcl-xS is associated to some forms of diabetes and cardiac disorders. The splicing factor RBM25 controls alternative splicing of BCL-x: its overexpression favours the production of Bcl-xS, whereas its downregulation has the opposite effect. Here we show that RBM25 directly and specifically binds to GQ-2, an RNA G-quadruplex (rG4) of BCL-x pre-mRNA that forms at the vicinity of the alternative 5′ splice site leading to the alternative Bcl-xS isoform. This RBM25/rG4 interaction is crucial for the production of Bcl-xS and depends on the RE (arginine-glutamate-rich) motif of RBM25, thus defining a new type of rG4-interacting domain. PhenDC3, a benchmark G4 ligand, enhances the binding of RBM25 to the GQ-2 rG4 of BCL-x pre-mRNA, thereby promoting the alternative pro-apoptotic Bcl-xS isoform and triggering apoptosis. Furthermore, the screening of a combinatorial library of 90 putative G4 ligands led to the identification of two original compounds, PhenDH8 and PhenDH9, superior to PhenDC3 in promoting the Bcl-xS isoform and apoptosis. Thus, favouring the interaction between RBM25 and the GQ-2 rG4 of BCL-x pre-mRNA represents a relevant intervention point to re-sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy.