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Mol Cell. 2007 Sep 21;27(6):928-37.

Rapid, transcript-specific changes in splicing in response to environmental stress.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, 600 16th Street, Genentech Hall, Room N-374, San Francisco, CA 94143-2200, USA.


While the core splicing machinery is highly conserved between budding yeast and mammals, the absence of alternative splicing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae raises the fundamental question of why introns have been retained in approximately 5% of the 6000 genes. Because ribosomal protein-encoding genes (RPGs) are highly overrepresented in the set of intron-containing genes, we tested the hypothesis that splicing of these transcripts would be regulated under conditions in which translation is impaired. Using a microarray-based strategy, we find that, within minutes after the induction of amino acid starvation, the splicing of the majority of RPGs is specifically inhibited. In response to an unrelated stress, exposure to toxic levels of ethanol, splicing of a different group of transcripts is inhibited, while the splicing of a third set is actually improved. We propose that regulation of splicing, like transcription, can afford rapid and specific changes in gene expression in response to the environment.

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