Spliceostatin A, meayamycin, and pladienolide B are small molecules that target the SF3b subunit of spliceosomal U2 snRNP. These compounds are attracting much attention as tools to manipulate splicing and potential anti-cancer drugs. We investigated the effects of these inhibitors on mRNA transport and stability in human cells. Upon splicing inhibition unspliced pre-mRNAs accumulated in the nucleus, particularly within enlarged nuclear speckles. Yet, a small fraction of the pre-mRNA molecules were exported to the cytoplasm. We identified the export adaptor ALYREF associated with intron-containing transcripts and show its requirement for the nucleo-cytoplasmic transport of unspliced pre-mRNA. In contrast, the EJC core protein eIF4AIII failed to form a stable complex with intron-containing transcripts. Despite the absence of EJC, unspliced pre-mRNA in the cytoplasm was degraded by NMD, suggesting that unspliced transcripts are degraded by an EJC-independent NMD pathway. Collectively, our results indicate that although blocking the function of SF3b elicits a massive accumulation of unspliced pre-mRNAs in the nucleus, intron-containing transcripts can still bind the ALYREF export factor and be transported to the cytoplasm, where they trigger an alternative NMD pathway.
- Received February 6, 2017.
- Accepted March 6, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd