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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Oct;18(10):637-650. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2017.63. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Splicing and transcription touch base: co-transcriptional spliceosome assembly and function.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Several macromolecular machines collaborate to produce eukaryotic messenger RNA. RNA polymerase II (Pol II) translocates along genes that are up to millions of base pairs in length and generates a flexible RNA copy of the DNA template. This nascent RNA harbours introns that are removed by the spliceosome, which is a megadalton ribonucleoprotein complex that positions the distant ends of the intron into its catalytic centre. Emerging evidence that the catalytic spliceosome is physically close to Pol II in vivo implies that transcription and splicing occur on similar timescales and that the transcription and splicing machineries may be spatially constrained. In this Review, we discuss aspects of spliceosome assembly, transcription elongation and other co-transcriptional events that allow the temporal coordination of co-transcriptional splicing.

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