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Biotechniques. 2006 Aug;41(2):177-81.

Minigene reporter for identification and analysis of cis elements and trans factors affecting pre-mRNA splicing.

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  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


All human genes contain a diverse array of cis-acting elements within introns and exons that are required for correct and efficient precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) splicing. Recent computational analyses predict that most human exons contain elements required for splicing coinciding with an appreciation for the high frequency with which mutations that disruption pre-mRNA splicing cause disease. Minigenes provide a means to directly determine whether disease-causing mutations or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affect splicing efficiency. Minigenes have also been instrumental in investigations of alternative splicing to identify cis elements required for cell-specific splicing events, demonstrating regulation of individual splicing events by specific RNA binding proteins, and correlating binding of these splicing regulators with splicing regulation. Here we present a versatile minigene plasmid vector designed for rapid cloning and analysis of cis elements and trans-acting factors that influence splicing efficiency or regulate cell-specific splicing. Ubiquitous expression and unique restriction sites allow for straightforward replacement of a variety of gene segments to analyze the effects of nucleotide substitutions on splicing, to identify tissue-specific regulatory elements, or to determine responsiveness to coexpressed proteins or small molecules.

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