Author(s): Oyama F, Hirohashi S, Shimosato Y, Titani K, Sekiguchi K
Alternative splicing of fibronectin pre-mRNA at the ED-A region has been shown to be regulated in a tissue- and developmental stage-specific manner. We investigated the splicing pattern at this region in malignant and nonmalignant human liver tissues and found that the relative population of the fibronectin mRNA containing the ED-A sequence is markedly increased in malignant liver tumors. Nontumorous liver tissues including those with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis did not show any significant change in the alternative splicing at the ED-A region. It was also found that the increased expression of the ED-A-containing fibronectin mRNA closely correlates with the occurrence of portal vein tumor thrombus and intrahepatic metastasis, which are two characteristic features of invasive liver tumors. These results indicate that tissue-specific alternative splicing of fibronectin mRNA is modified in human liver cancer and raise a possibility that the putative molecular machinery governing alternative RNA splicing of not only fibronectin but also other cellular proteins is deregulated in malignant human tumors.