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Int J Med Microbiol. 2012 Oct;302(4-5):221-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

mRNA splicing in trypanosomes.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 58, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.


The parasitic unicellular trypanosomatids are responsible for several fatal diseases in humans and livestock. Regarding their biochemistry and molecular biology, they possess a multitude of special features such as polycistronic transcription of protein-coding genes. The resulting long primary transcripts need to be processed by coupled trans-splicing and polyadenylation reactions, thereby generating mature mRNAs. Catalyzed by a large ribonucleoprotein complex termed the spliceosome, trans-splicing attaches a 39-nucleotide leader sequence, which is derived from the Spliced Leader (SL) RNA, to each protein-coding gene. Recent genome-wide studies demonstrated that alternative trans-splicing increases mRNA and protein diversity in these organisms. In this mini-review we give an overview of the current state of research on trans-splicing.

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