mRNA Splicing: Regulated and Differential


Alternative splicing is the process by which single genes express multiple messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and therefore multiple proteins, by differential processing of the primary transcript (pre‐mRNA). The temporal and spatial regulation of protein expression by alternative splicing is determinative for such diverse biological processes as gender specification in Drosophila, commitment to apoptosis, and sound frequency recognition of individual hair cells in the avian cochlea.

Keywords: alternative splicing; pre‐mRNA; cell‐specific regulation

Figure 1.

Alternative splicing regulates Drosophila sex determination. The male (black) and female‐specific (red) splicing patterns are indicated. The six 13‐nt repeats in the dsx female‐specific exon are indicated in light blue. A purine‐rich element is indicated in black.

Figure 2.

Alternative splicing pathways of vertebrate experimental systems. Alternative exons are indicated in red. Regulatory elements are indicated in light blue.



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Further Reading

Black D (1995) Finding splice sites within a wilderness of RNA. RNA 1: 763–771.

Chabot B (1996) Directing alternative splicing: cast and scenarios. Trends in Genetics 12: 472–478.

Cooper TA (1999) Strategies for defining pre‐mRNA cis elements that regulate cell‐specific splicing. In: Haynes SR (ed.) Methods in Molecular Biology, pp. 391–403. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.

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Lander ES, Linton LM, Birren B et al. (2001) Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome. Nature 409: 860–921.

Smith CW and Valcarcel J (2000) Alternative pre‐mRNA splicing: the logic of combinatorial control. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 25: 381–388.

Philips AV and Cooper TA (2000) RNA processing and human disease. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 57: 235–249.

Valcarcel J and Gebauer F (1997) Post‐transcriptional regulation: the dawn of PTB. Current Biology 7: R705–708.

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How to Cite close
Cooper, Thomas A(Mar 2002) mRNA Splicing: Regulated and Differential. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000897]