Exonization of Alu-generated Splice Variants in the Survivin Gene of Human and Non-human Primates

Gemma Mola, Elena Vela, Ma Teresa Fernández-Figueras, Marcos Isamat, Ana M. Muñoz-Mármol

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Survivin is a member of the inhibitor apoptosis family that is overexpressed in many malignancies. It has five known alternative splice forms, some of which differ in their antiapoptotic properties and expression levels in human cancers. Here we describe a novel donor splice site (DSS), 2B + 32 DSS, which is used in conjunction with survivin alternative exon 2B, resulting in the inclusion of 32 additional nucleotides from intron 2 at the 3′ end of this exon. Sequence analysis showed that both the classical exon 2B DSS and 2B + 32 are provided by an Alu sequence, which is inserted in intron 2 downstream of a functional acceptor splice site, leading to the exonization of part of the repetitive element. Minor transcripts including the 2B + 32 alternative exon, or retaining the whole intronic region comprised between exons 2B and 3, were detected in several human cell lines and in some human tissues. Survivin 2B + 32 containing variants acquire a premature stop codon (PTC) and may therefore be degraded by the nonsense mediated decay pathway. The implication of these novel isoforms, as well as other PTC+ survivin variants, in the overall regulation of survivin expression is discussed. Sequence analysis of intron 2 which contains the Alu Y element was performed on different primate species in order to trace its insertion and exonization during primate evolution. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1063
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2007


  • alternative splicing
  • Alu-exonization
  • nonsense mediated decay
  • premature termination codon
  • survivin


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