Since alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs is essential for generating tissue-specific diversity in proteome, elucidating its regulatory mechanism is indispensable to understand developmental process or tissue-specific functions. We have been focusing on tissue-specific regulation of mutually exclusive selection of alternative exons because this implies the typical molecular mechanism of alternative splicing regulation and also can be good examples to elicit general rule of "splice code". So far, mutually exclusive splicing regulation has been explained by the outcome from the balance of multiple regulators that enhance or repress either of alternative exons discretely. However, this "balance" model is open to questions of how to ensure the selection of only one appropriate exon out of several candidates and how to switch them. To answer these questions, we generated an original bichromatic fluorescent splicing reporter system for mammals using fibroblast growth factor-receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene as model. By using this splicing reporter, we demonstrated that FGFR2 gene is regulated by the "switch-like" mechanism, in which key regulators modify the ordered splice-site recognition of two mutually exclusive exons, eventually ensure single exon selection and their distinct switching. Also this finding elucidated the evolutionally conserved "splice code," in which combination of tissue-specific and broadly expressed RNA binding proteins regulate alternative splicing of specific gene in a tissue-specific manner. These findings provide the significant cue to understand how a number of spliced genes are regulated in various tissue-specific manners by a limited number of regulators, eventually to understand developmental process or tissue-specific functions.
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