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Trends Genet. 2016 Nov;32(11):724-735. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2016.09.003. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

Exon Junction Complexes: Supervising the Gene Expression Assembly Line.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany.
Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany. Electronic address:


The exon junction complex (EJC) is an RNA-binding protein complex that is assembled and deposited onto mRNAs during splicing. The EJC comprises four core components that bind to not only canonical sites upstream of exon-exon junctions, but also to noncanonical sites at other positions in exons. EJC-associated proteins are recruited by the EJC at different steps of gene expression to execute the multiple functions of the EJC. Recently, new insights have been obtained into how EJCs stimulate pre-mRNA splicing, and mRNA export, translation, and degradation. Furthermore, mutations in EJC core components were shown to result in severe disorders in humans, demonstrating the critical physiological role of the EJC. Hence, the EJC has been identified as an important player in post-transcriptional gene regulation in metazoans.


RNA-binding protein; mRNA processing; mRNA transport; mRNA turnover; mRNP; nonsense-mediated mRNA decay

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