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Trends Biochem Sci. 2012 Jul;37(7):263-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 5.

Staying on message: ensuring fidelity in pre-mRNA splicing.

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  • 1Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The faithful expression of genes requires that cellular machinery select substrates with high specificity at each step in gene expression. High specificity is particularly important at the stage of nuclear pre-mRNA splicing, during which the spliceosome selects splice sites and excises intervening introns. With low specificity, the usage of alternative sites would yield insertions, deletions and frame shifts in mRNA. Recently, biochemical, genetic and genome-wide approaches have significantly advanced our understanding of splicing fidelity. In particular, we have learned that DExD/H-box ATPases play a general role in rejecting and discarding suboptimal substrates and that these factors serve as a paradigm for proofreading NTPases in other systems. Recent advances have also defined fundamental questions for future investigations.

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