Characterization of SRPK AffiPlasmid: A Novel Tool for Studying Serine-Arginine Protein Kinase Functionality

Serine-arginine protein kinases (SRPKs) play pivotal roles in various cellular processes, including mRNA processing and splicing, by phosphorylating serine-arginine (SR) rich domains of splicing factors. Despite their importance, studying SRPK functionality has been challenging due to limitations in existing tools. Here, we introduce a novel approach utilizing SRPK AffiPlasmid, a genetically engineered plasmid vector designed for affinity purification of SRPKs and associated proteins. This article presents the technical details and validation of SRPK AffiPlasmid as a robust tool for investigating SRPK-mediated processes.


Serine-arginine protein kinases (SRPKs) are a family of protein kinases crucial for the regulation of mRNA splicing through the phosphorylation of serine-arginine (SR) rich domains within splicing factors [1]. The activity of SRPKs is essential for proper splice site recognition and spliceosome assembly, making them key players in gene expression regulation [2]. Dysregulation of SRPK function has been implicated in various diseases, including cancer and neurological disorders 

Despite their significance, studying SRPKs has been hindered by the lack of efficient tools for their isolation and characterization. Traditional methods such as immunoprecipitation have limitations in terms of specificity and yield, necessitating the development of alternative approaches for studying SRPK functionality.

SRPK AffiPlasmid Design and Construction

The SRPK AffiPlasmid was designed as a versatile tool for the affinity purification of SRPKs and associated proteins from cell lysates. The plasmid backbone contains a bacterial origin of replication for propagation in Escherichia coli, as well as antibiotic resistance genes for selection in bacterial hosts. Additionally, the vector features a eukaryotic expression cassette comprising a strong promoter, multiple cloning sites for gene insertion, and a tag sequence for affinity purification.

The key element of SRPK AffiPlasmid is the incorporation of a high-affinity tag sequence, such as FLAG or Strep-tag, at the C-terminus of the target SRPK protein. This tag allows for efficient purification of SRPK complexes using affinity chromatography techniques, enabling the isolation of SRPK-interacting proteins for downstream analysis.

Validation of SRPK AffiPlasmid

To validate the functionality of SRPK AffiPlasmid, we performed a series of experiments using both in vitro and in vivo systems. First, we confirmed the expression of tagged SRPK protein in mammalian cells transfected with SRPK AffiPlasmid by western blot analysis using anti-tag antibodies. Subsequent immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated the specific binding of tagged SRPK to affinity resin, indicating the successful incorporation of the tag sequence.

Next, we assessed the ability of SRPK AffiPlasmid to capture endogenous SRPK-interacting proteins from cell lysates. Affinity purification followed by mass spectrometry analysis revealed a repertoire of known and novel SRPK-associated proteins, validating the utility of SRPK AffiPlasmid for identifying protein interaction networks.

Furthermore, we investigated the functionality of SRPK AffiPlasmid in studying SRPK-mediated phosphorylation events. Using purified SRPK complexes obtained from affinity purification, we performed in vitro kinase assays and confirmed the phosphorylation of SR protein substrates, demonstrating the retention of enzymatic activity by tagged SRPK.

Applications of SRPK AffiPlasmid

The versatility of SRPK AffiPlasmid makes it a valuable tool for various applications in the study of SRPK biology. Beyond protein-protein interaction studies, SRPK AffiPlasmid can be employed to elucidate the role of SRPKs in mRNA splicing regulation, identify novel substrates, and investigate the impact of post-translational modifications on SRPK function.

Moreover, SRPK AffiPlasmid can facilitate drug discovery efforts targeting SRPKs by enabling high-throughput screening of small molecule inhibitors and assessing their effects on SRPK activity and substrate specificity.

Research Methodologies

Cell Viability Assays

Utilizing Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) to measure cell proliferation in cancer cells treated with SRPK1 inhibitors.

siRNA and Plasmid Transfection

Downregulation and upregulation of SRPK1 achieved through small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and plasmid vectors. YT cells were transfected with these constructs to study the effects on gene expression.

Flow Cytometry

Employed to detect apoptosis using Annexin V and 7-AAD staining, followed by analysis with a MACSQuant Analyzer.

Western Blotting

Used to analyze protein expression levels in treated cells, ensuring the detection of SRPK1 and downstream targets.

RNA Sequencing

Total RNA extraction followed by high-throughput sequencing to assess changes in gene expression profiles upon SRPK1 inhibition.

Therapeutic Implications

SRPK1 inhibition shows potential in sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy and reducing tumor resistance. The versatility of SRPK1 inhibitors across various cancer types, including NK/T-cell lymphoma and leukemia, highlights their broad therapeutic applicability.

In summary, SRPK AffiPlasmid represents a novel and powerful tool for investigating SRPK functionality and protein interaction networks. Its design allows for efficient affinity purification of SRPK complexes from cell lysates, enabling comprehensive studies of SRPK-mediated processes. By providing insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying SRPK function, SRPK AffiPlasmid holds promise for advancing our understanding of RNA processing and splicing regulation in health and disease.

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