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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1999 Feb;220(2):64-72.

Alternative splicing and programmed cell death.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Programmed cell death (PCD) is critical for development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms. Genetic and biochemical studies have revealed that PCD is under complex and delicate regulation. An important level of such regulation may be pre-mRNA splicing as suggested by the observation that a number of PCD regulatory genes are expressed as functionally distinct or even antagonistic isoforms as a result of alternative splicing. Studies on alternative splicing of these genes are reviewed here. Expression and function of a large number of genes involved in PCD are regulated by alternative splicing, including death receptors and intracellular components of the death machinery. Alternative splicing affects not only intracellular distribution but also functional activity of these death regulators, providing a fine-tuning mechanism in modulating a presumably tightly controlled process of cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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