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Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Jun;21(6):328-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Pause locally, splice globally.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


Most eukaryotic protein-coding transcripts contain introns, which vary in number and position along the transcript body. Intron removal through pre-mRNA splicing is tightly linked to transcription by RNA polymerase II as it translocates along each gene. Here, we review recent evidence that transcription and splicing are functionally coupled. We focus on how RNA polymerase II elongation rates impact splicing through local regulation and transcriptional pausing within genes. Emerging concepts of how splicing-related changes in elongation might be achieved are highlighted. We place the interplay between transcription and splicing in the context of chromatin where nucleosome positioning influences elongation, and histone modifications participate directly in the recruitment of splicing regulators to nascent transcripts.

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