Recursive splicing is key
Important messages require accurate transmission. Big genes are especially challenging because they combine many coding segments (exons) that lie between long stretches of non-coding elements (introns). During processing, introns are snipped out and exons pasted together to form a template for proteins called messenger RNA (mRNA). Mistakes in RNA processing can reduce the expression of a functional protein or, worse, produce an abnormal protein that interferes with normal cell behavior. But just how a cells molecular machinery eliminates long introns without making errors has puzzled scientists for years.
Now, investigators at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that a novel mechanism, called recursive splicing, removes long introns by steadily paring them down in a predictable fashion and joining the remaining exons. The findings are published this summer in Genetics. This process, which the investigators discovered in the fruit fly Drosophila, has been conserved over tens of millions of years of insect evolution and also appears likely to occur in humans, according to the investigators.
Lauren Ward | EurekAlert!
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