Ph.D. National Tsing Hua University
Postdoc Assoc. Yale University
RBM4 promotes differentiation of neuronal progenitor cells and neurite outgrowth of cultured neurons via its role in splicing regulation. In this study, we further explored the role of RBM4 in neuronal differentiation. During neuronal differentiation,energy production shifts from glycolysis to xidative phosphorylation. We found that the splice isoform change of the metabolic enzyme pyruvate kinase M(PKM) from PKM2 to PKM1 occurs during brain development and is impaired in RBM4-deficient brains. The PKM isoform change could be recapitulated in human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) during neuronal induction. Using a PKM minigene, we demonstrated that RBM4 plays a direct role in regulating alternative splicing of PKM. Moreover, RBM4 antagonized the function of the splicing factor PTB and induced the expression of a PTB isoform with attenuated splicing activity in MSCs. Overexpression of RBM4 or PKM1 induced the expression of neuronal genes, increased the mitochondrial respiration capacity in MSCs, and, accordingly, promoted neuronal differentiation. Finally, we demonstrated that RBM4 is induced and is involved in the PKM splicing switch and neuronal gene expression during hypoxiainduced neuronal differentiation. Hence, RBM4 plays an important role in the PKM isoform switch and the change in mitochondrial energy production during neuronal differentiation.