Half pint regulates alternative splice site selection in Drosophila

Alternative splicing is used by metazoans to increase protein diversity and to alter gene expression during development. However, few factors that control splice site choice in vivo have been identified. Here we describe a factor, Half pint (Hfp), that regulates RNA splicing in Drosophila. Females harboring hypomorphic mutations in hfp lay short eggs and show defects in germline mitosis, nuclear morphology, and RNA localization during oogenesis. We find that hfp encodes the Drosophila ortholog of human PUF60 and functions in both constitutive and alternative splicing in vivo. In particular, hfp mutants display striking defects in the developmentally regulated splicing of ovarian tumor (otu). Furthermore, transgenic expression of the missing otu splice form can rescue the ovarian phenotypes of hfp.