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Autogenous cross-regulation of Quaking mRNA processing and translation balances Quaking functions in splicing and translation


Quaking protein isoforms arise from a single Quaking gene and bind the same RNA motif to regulate splicing, translation, decay, and localization of a large set of RNAs. However, the mechanisms by which Quaking expression is controlled to ensure that appropriate amounts of each isoform are available for such disparate gene expression processes are unknown. Here we explore how levels of two isoforms, nuclear Quaking-5 (Qk5) and cytoplasmic Qk6, are regulated in mouse myoblasts. We found that Qk5 and Qk6 proteins have distinct functions in splicing and translation, respectively, enforced through differential subcellular localization. We show that Qk5 and Qk6 regulate distinct target mRNAs in the cell and act in distinct ways on their own and each other's transcripts to create a network of autoregulatory and cross-regulatory feedback controls. Morpholino-mediated inhibition of Qk translation confirms that Qk5 controls Qk RNA levels by promoting accumulation and alternative splicing of Qk RNA, whereas Qk6 promotes its own translation while repressing Qk5. This Qk isoform cross-regulatory network responds to additional cell type and developmental controls to generate a spectrum of Qk5/Qk6 ratios, where they likely contribute to the wide range of functions of Quaking in development and cancer.

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