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F1000Prime Rep. 2013 Apr 2;5:9. doi: 10.12703/P5-9. Print 2013.

Counting on co-transcriptional splicing.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology and GeneticsPfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01309 DresdenGermany.
Contributed equally


Splicing is the removal of intron sequences from pre-mRNA by the spliceosome. Researchers working in multiple model organisms - notably yeast, insects and mammalian cells - have shown that pre-mRNA can be spliced during the process of transcription (i.e. co-transcriptionally), as well as after transcription termination (i.e. post-transcriptionally). Co-transcriptional splicing does not assume that transcription and splicing machineries are mechanistically coupled, yet it raises this possibility. Early studies were based on a limited number of genes, which were often chosen because of their experimental accessibility. Since 2010, eight studies have used global datasets as counting tools, in order to quantify co-transcriptional intron removal. The consensus view, based on four organisms, is that the majority of splicing events take place co-transcriptionally in most cells and tissues. Here, we discuss the nature of the various global datasets and how bioinformatic analyses were conducted. Considering the broad differences in experimental approach and analysis, the level of agreement on the prevalence of co-transcriptional splicing is remarkable.

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