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Genetics. 2006 Sep;174(1):511-8. Epub 2006 Jul 2.

Introns regulate RNA and protein abundance in yeast.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


The purpose of introns in the architecturally simple genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is not well understood. To assay the functional relevance of introns, a series of computational analyses and several detailed deletion studies were completed on the intronic genes of S. cerevisiae. Mining existing data from genomewide studies on yeast revealed that intron-containing genes produce more RNA and more protein and are more likely to be haplo-insufficient than nonintronic genes. These observations for all intronic genes held true for distinct subsets of genes including ribosomal, nonribosomal, duplicated, and nonduplicated. Corroborating the result of computational analyses, deletion of introns from three essential genes decreased cellular RNA levels and caused measurable growth defects. These data provide evidence that introns improve transcriptional and translational yield and are required for competitive growth of yeast.

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