Human RNPS1 was originally characterized as a pre-mRNA splicing activator in vitro and was shown to regulate alternative splicing in vivo. RNPS1 was also identified as a protein component of the splicing-dependent mRNP complex, or exon-exon junction complex (EJC), and a role for RNPS1 in postsplicing processes has been proposed. Here we demonstrate that RNPS1 incorporates into active spliceosomes, enhances the formation of the ATP-dependent A complex, and promotes the generation of both intermediate and final spliced products. RNPS1 is phosphorylated in vivo and interacts with the CK2 (casein kinase II) protein kinase. Serine 53 (Ser-53) of RNPS1 was identified as the major phosphorylation site for CK2 in vitro, and the same site is also phosphorylated in vivo. The phosphorylation status of Ser-53 significantly affects splicing activation in vitro, but it does not perturb the nuclear localization of RNPS1. In vivo experiments indicated that the phosphorylation of RNPS1 at Ser-53 influences the efficiencies of both splicing and translation. We propose that RNPS1 is a splicing regulator whose activator function is controlled in part by CK2 phosphorylation.
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