Regulation of translation by upstream translation initiation codons of surfactant protein A1 splice variants

Nikolaos Tsotakos, Patricia Silveyra, Zhenwu Lin, Neal Thomas, Mudit Vaid, Joanna Floros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Surfactant protein A (SP-A), a molecule with roles in lung innate immunity and surfactant-related functions, is encoded by two genes in humans: SFTPA1 (SP-A1) and SFTPA2 (SP-A2). The mRNAs from these genes differ in their 5=-untranslated regions (5=-UTR) due to differential splicing. The 5=-UTR variant ACD= is exclusively found in transcripts of SP-A1, but not in those of SP-A2. Its unique exon C contains two upstream AUG codons (uAUGs) that may affect SP-A1 translation efficiency. The first uAUG (u1) is in frame with the primary start codon (p), but the second one (u2) is not. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of uAUGs on SP-A1 expression. We employed RT-qPCR to determine the presence of exon C-containing SP-A1 transcripts in human RNA samples. We also used in vitro techniques including mutagenesis, reporter assays, and toeprinting analysis, as well as in silico analyses to determine the role of uAUGs. Exon C-containing mRNA is present in most human lung tissue samples and its expression can, under certain conditions, be regulated by factors such as dexamethasone or endotoxin. Mutating uAUGs resulted in increased luciferase activity. The mature protein size was not affected by the uAUGs, as shown by a combination of toeprint and in silico analysis for Kozak sequence, secondary structure, and signal peptide and in vitro translation in the presence of microsomes. In conclusion, alternative splicing may introduce uAUGs in SP-A1 transcripts, which in turn negatively affect SP-A1 translation, possibly affecting SP-A1/ SP-A2 ratio, with potential for clinical implication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L58-L75
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of translation by upstream translation initiation codons of surfactant protein A1 splice variants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this