Alternative Splicing as a Therapeutic Target for Human Diseases
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The majority of eukaryotic genes undergo alternative splicing, an evolutionarily conserved phenomenon, to generate functionally diverse protein isoforms from a single transcript. The fact that defective pre-mRNA splicing can generate non-functional and often toxic proteins with catastrophic effects, accurate removal of introns and joining of exons is vital for cell homeostasis. Thus, molecular tools that could either silence a disease-causing gene or regulate its expression in trans will find many therapeutic applications. Here we present two RNA-based approaches, namely RNAi and theophylline-responsive riboswitch that can regulate gene expression by loss-of-function and modulation of splicing, respectively. These strategies are likely to continue to play an integral role in studying gene function and drug discovery.
Key wordsAlternative splicing spliceosome RNAi theophylline-responsive riboswitch
We thank members of the Gaur laboratory for helpful discussions; Marieta Gencheva for valuable suggestions; and Faith Osep for administrative assistance. This work was supported in part by a Department of Defense (DOD; CDMRP) grant to RKG (BC023235), Beckman Research Institute excellence award to RKG, and NIH grant (CA 84202) to JES.
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