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Phys Biol. 2009 Nov 24;6(4):046018. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/6/4/046018.

Entropic contributions to the splicing process.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Fisica Teorica and INFN, Universit√† degli Studi di Torino, v. Pietro Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy. mosella@to.infn.it


It has been recently argued that depletion attraction may play an important role in different aspects of cellular organization, ranging from the organization of transcriptional activity in transcription factories to the formation of nuclear bodies. In this paper, we suggest a new application of these ideas in the context of the splicing process, a crucial step of messenger RNA maturation in eukaryotes. We shall show that entropy effects and the resulting depletion attraction may explain the relevance of the aspecific intron length variable in the choice of splice-site recognition modality. On top of that, some qualitative features of the genome architecture of higher eukaryotes can find evolutionary realistic motivation in the light of our model.

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