Essays on Science and SocietyCell and Molecular Biology

A key component of gene expression, revealed

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Science  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6417, pp. 904
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav6875


In eukaryotes, genetic information stored in DNA is first transcribed into precursor messenger RNAs (pre-mRNAs), in which noncoding (introns) and coding regions (exons) appear alternatively. Introns must be removed, and exons are ligated to generate a mature mRNA that contains continuous protein-coding sequences through a sophisticated process called pre-mRNA splicing, which was discovered 40 years ago (1, 2). Splicing comprises two sequential transesterification reactions, branching and exon ligation, executed by a multi-megadalton, ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex known as the spliceosome (3).

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