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Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing

Abstract

The collection of components required to carry out the intricate processes involved in generating and maintaining a living, breathing and, sometimes, thinking organism is staggeringly complex. Where do all of the parts come from? Early estimates stated that about 100,000 genes would be required to make up a mammal; however, the actual number is less than one-quarter of that, barely four times the number of genes in budding yeast. It is now clear that the 'missing' information is in large part provided by alternative splicing, the process by which multiple different functional messenger RNAs, and therefore proteins, can be synthesized from a single gene.

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Figure 1: Types of alternative splicing.
Figure 2: The generation of diverse mRNA repertoires.
Figure 3: Alternative splicing regulatory mechanisms.

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Acknowledgements

We apologize to the many authors whose publications are not cited directly because of space limitations. Research in our laboratories is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (T.W.N. and B.R.G.), the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fund for the Arts and Sciences (B.R.G.) and the State of Connecticut's Stem Cell Research Fund (B.R.G.).

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Reprints and permissions information is available at http://www.nature.com/reprints. Correspondence should be addressed to T.W.N. (twn@case.edu) or B.R.G. (graveley@neuron.uchc.edu).

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Nilsen, T., Graveley, B. Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing. Nature 463, 457–463 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08909

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