Hypoxia induces expression of a GPI-anchorless splice variant of the prion protein

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Abstract

The human prion protein (PrP) is a glycoprotein with a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor at its C-terminus. Here we report alternative splicing within exon 2 of the PrP gene (PRNP) in the human glioblastoma cell line T98G. The open reading frame of the alternatively spliced mRNA lacked the GPI anchor signal sequence and encoded a 230 amino acid polypeptide. Its product, GPI-anchorless PrP (GPI− PrPSV), was unglycosylated and soluble in non-ionic detergent, and was found in the cytosolic fraction. We also detected low levels of alternatively spliced mRNA in human brain and non-neuronal tissues. When long-term passaged T98G cells were placed in a low-oxygen environment, alternatively spliced mRNA expression increased and expression of normally spliced PrP mRNA decreased. These findings imply that oxygen tension regulates GPI− PrPSV expression in T98G cells.

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