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PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002215. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002215. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Modelling reveals kinetic advantages of co-transcriptional splicing.

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  • 1Centre for Systems Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. s.aitken@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Messenger RNA splicing is an essential and complex process for the removal of intron sequences. Whereas the composition of the splicing machinery is mostly known, the kinetics of splicing, the catalytic activity of splicing factors and the interdependency of transcription, splicing and mRNA 3' end formation are less well understood. We propose a stochastic model of splicing kinetics that explains data obtained from high-resolution kinetic analyses of transcription, splicing and 3' end formation during induction of an intron-containing reporter gene in budding yeast. Modelling reveals co-transcriptional splicing to be the most probable and most efficient splicing pathway for the reporter transcripts, due in part to a positive feedback mechanism for co-transcriptional second step splicing. Model comparison is used to assess the alternative representations of reactions. Modelling also indicates the functional coupling of transcription and splicing, because both the rate of initiation of transcription and the probability that step one of splicing occurs co-transcriptionally are reduced, when the second step of splicing is abolished in a mutant reporter.

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