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The dynamics of a pre-mRNA splicing factor in living cells


Pre-mRNA splicing is a predominantly co-transcriptional event which involves a large number of essential splicing factors1,2. Within the mammalian cell nucleus, most splicing factors are concentrated in 20–40 distinct domains called speckles3. The function of speckles and the organization of cellular transcription and pre-mRNA splicing in vivo are not well understood. We have investigated the dynamic properties of splicing factors in nuclei of living cells. Here we show that speckles are highly dynamic structures that respond specifically to activation of nearby genes. These dynamic events are dependent on RNA polymerase II transcription, and are sensitive to inhibitors of protein kinases and Ser/Thr phosphatases. When single genes are transcription-ally activated in living cells, splicing factors leave speckles in peripheral extensions and accumulate at the new sites of transcription. We conclude that one function of speckles is to supply splicing factors to active genes. Our observations demonstrate that the interphase nucleus is far more dynamic in nature than previously assumed.

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Misteli, T., Cáceres, J. & Spector, D. The dynamics of a pre-mRNA splicing factor in living cells. Nature 387, 523–527 (1997).

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