Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:284 issue:37 pages:25375-25387
Human FBP21 (formin-binding protein 21) contains a matrin-type zinc finger and two tandem WW domains. It is a component of the spliceosomes and interacts with several established splicing factors. Here we demonstrate for the first time that FBP21 is an activator of pre-mRNA splicing in vivo and that its splicing activation function and interaction with the splicing factor SIPP1 (splicing factor that interacts with PQBP1 and PP1) are both mediated by the two tandem WW domains of group III. We determined the solution structure of the tandem WW domains of FBP21 and found that the WW domains recognize peptide ligands containing either group II (PPLP) or group III (PPR) motifs. The binding interfaces involve both the XP and XP2 grooves of the two WW domains. Significantly, the tandem WW domains of FBP21 are connected by a highly flexible region, enabling their simultaneous interaction with two proline-rich motifs of SIPP1. The strong interaction between SIPP1 and FBP21 can be explained by the conjugation of two low affinity interactions with the tandem WW domains. Our study provides a structural basis for understanding the molecular mechanism underlying the functional implication of FBP21 and the biological specificity of tandem WW domains.