Alternative splicing of the SUMO1/2/3 transcripts affects cellular SUMOylation and produces functionally distinct SUMO protein isoforms

Myriah L. Acuña, Andrea García-Morin, Rebeca Orozco-Sepúlveda, Carlos Ontiveros, Alejandra Flores, Arely V. Diaz, Isabel Gutiérrez-Zubiate, Abhijeet R. Patil, Luis A. Alvarado, Sourav Roy, William K. Russell, Germán Rosas-Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Substantial increases in the conjugation of the main human SUMO paralogs, SUMO1, SUMO2, and SUMO3, are observed upon exposure to different cellular stressors, and such increases are considered important to facilitate cell survival to stress. Despite their critical cellular role, little is known about how the levels of the SUMO modifiers are regulated in the cell, particularly as it relates to the changes observed upon stress. Here we characterize the contribution of alternative splicing towards regulating the expression of the main human SUMO paralogs under normalcy and three different stress conditions, heat-shock, cold-shock, and Influenza A Virus infection. Our data reveal that the normally spliced transcript variants are the predominant mature mRNAs produced from the SUMO genes and that the transcript coding for SUMO2 is by far the most abundant of all. We also provide evidence that alternatively spliced transcripts coding for protein isoforms of the prototypical SUMO proteins, which we refer to as the SUMO alphas, are also produced, and that their abundance and nuclear export are affected by stress in a stress- and cell-specific manner. Additionally, we provide evidence that the SUMO alphas are actively synthesized in the cell as their coding mRNAs are found associated with translating ribosomes. Finally, we provide evidence that the SUMO alphas are functionally different from their prototypical counterparts, with SUMO1α and SUMO2α being non-conjugatable to protein targets, SUMO3α being conjugatable but targeting a seemingly different subset of protein from those targeted by SUMO3, and all three SUMO alphas displaying different cellular distributions from those of the prototypical SUMOs. Thus, alternative splicing appears to be an important contributor to the regulation of the expression of the SUMO proteins and the cellular functions of the SUMOylation system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2309
Pages (from-to)2309
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 9 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative Splicing
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Humans
  • Protein Isoforms/genetics
  • SUMO-1 Protein/genetics
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins/genetics
  • Sumoylation


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternative splicing of the SUMO1/2/3 transcripts affects cellular SUMOylation and produces functionally distinct SUMO protein isoforms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this