Alternative Splicing of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator (ARNT) Is Regulated by RBFOX2 in Lymphoid Malignancies

Amy M. Cooper, Curtis A. Nutter, Muge N. Kuyumcu-Martinez, Casey W. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aberrant alternative splicing (AS) of pre-mRNAs promotes the development and proliferation of cancerous cells. Accordingly, we had previously observed higher levels of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) spliced variant isoform 1 in human lymphoid malignancies compared to that in normal lymphoid cells, which is a consequence of increased inclusion of alternative exon 5. ARNT is a transcription factor that has been implicated in the survival of various cancers. Notably, we found that ARNT isoform 1 promoted the growth and survival of lymphoid malignancies, but the regulatory mechanism controlling ARNT AS is unclear. Here, we report cis- and trans-regulatory elements which are important for the inclusion of ARNT exon 5. Specifically, we identified recognition motifs for the RNA-binding protein RBFOX2, which are required for RBFOX2-mediated exon 5 inclusion. RBFOX2 upregulation was observed in lymphoid malignancies, correlating with the observed increase in ARNT exon 5 inclusion. Moreover, suppression of RBFOX2 significantly reduced ARNT isoform 1 levels and cell growth. These observations reveal RBFOX2 as a critical regulator of ARNT AS in lymphoid malignancies and suggest that blocking the ARNT-specific RBFOX2 motifs to decrease ARNT isoform 1 levels is a viable option for targeting the growth of lymphoid malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • ARNT
  • Alternative splicing
  • Lymphoid malignancies
  • RBFOX2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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