Silencing core spliceosome sm gene expression induces a cytotoxic splicing switch in the proteasome subunit beta 3 mRNA in non-small cell lung cancer cells

Maxime Blijlevens, Malgorzata A. Komor, Rocco Sciarrillo, Egbert F. Smit, Remond J.A. Fijneman, Victor W. van Beusechem

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The core spliceosomal Sm proteins were recently proposed as cancer-selective lethal targets in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In contrast, the loss of the commonly mutated cancer target SF3B1 appeared to be toxic to non-malignant cells as well. In the current study, the transcriptomes of A549 NSCLC cells, in which SF3B1 or SNRPD3 was silenced, were compared using RNA sequencing. The skipping of exon 4 of the proteasomal subunit beta type-3 (PSMB3) mRNA, resulting in a shorter PSMB3-S variant, occurred only after silencing SNRPD3. This bservation was extended to the other six Sm genes. Remarkably, the alternative splicing of PSMB3 mRNA upon Sm gene silencing was not observed in non-malignant IMR-90 lung fibroblasts. Furthermore, PSMB3 was found to be overexpressed in NSCLC clinical samples and PSMB3 expression correlated with Sm gene expression. Moreover, a high PSMB3 expression corresponds to worse survival in patients with lung adenocarcinomas. Finally, silencing the canonical full-length PSMB3-L, but not the shorter PSMB3-S variant, was cytotoxic and was accompanied by a decrease in proteasomal activity. Together, silencing Sm genes, but not SF3B1, causes a cytotoxic alternative splicing switch in the PSMB3 mRNA in NSCLC cells only.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4192
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


  • Alternative splicing
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Proteasome
  • SM proteins

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