Small nuclear RNAs U11 and U12 modulate expression of TNR-CFTR mRNA in mammalian kidneys

Jackson Souza-Menezes, Deepali Tukaye, Horacio Javier Novaira, William B. Guggino, Marcelo M. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TNR-CFTR, discovered as a splice variant of CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator), is distributed in different tissues such as human and rat kidney, trachea, lungs etc and is a functional chloride channel. In Kidneys, our findings show TNR-CFTR to have an unique distribution pattern with low levels of expression in renal cortex and high levels of expression in renal medulla. As shown by us previously, TNR-CFTR mRNA lacks 145 bp corresponding to segments of exons 13 and 14. This deletion causes a frame shift mutation leading to reading of a premature termination codon in exon 14. Premature termination of translation produces a functional half molecule of CFTR; TNR-CFTR. Our analysis of TNR mRNA has shown that the putative alternatively spliced intron has in its 5′ and 3′ conserved element CT and AC, respectively, that can be recognized by snRNAs U11 and U12. With these findings, we hypothesize that TNR-CFTR mRNA alternative splicing is probably mediate by splicing pathways utilizing U11 and U12 snRNAs. In this study, we have determined sequences of snRNAs U11 and U12 derived from rat kidney, which show significant homology to human U11 and U12 snRNAs. We show that there is significantly lower expression of U11 and U12 snRNAs in renal cortex compared to renal medulla in both humans and rats. This renal pattern of distribution of U11 and U12 snRNAs in both humans and rats closely follows distribution pattern of renal TNR-CFTR. Further, we have shown that blocking U11 and/or U12 mRNAs, by using antisense probes transfected in Immortalized Rat Proximal Tubule Cell line (IRPTC), decreases TNR-CFTR mRNA expression but not wild-type CFTR mRNA expression. Our results suggest that expression of U11 and/or U12 snRNAs is important for non-conventional alternative splicing process that gives rise to mRNA transcript coding for TNR-CFTR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 2008


  • CFTR
  • Kidney
  • Small nuclear RNA
  • Splicing and mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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