Apr 7, 2020

The spatial distributions of pre-mRNAs suggest post-transcriptional splicing of specific introns within endogenous genes

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. J. CoteArjun Raj

Abstract

Splicing is the molecular process by which introns are removed from pre-mRNA and exons are joined together to form the sequence of the mature mRNA. Measuring the timing of splicing relative to the transcription of nascent RNA has yielded conflicting interpretations. Biochemical fractionation suggests that RNA is spliced primarily during the process of transcription, but imaging of nascent RNA suggests that splicing happens after the process of transcription has been completed. We use single molecule RNA FISH together with expansion microscopy to measure the spatial distribution of nascent and partially spliced transcripts in mammalian cells, allowing us to infer the delay between when an intron is transcribed and when it is spliced out of a pre-mRNA. We show that 4 out of 4 genes we interrogated exhibit some post-transcriptional splicing, and that introns can be spliced in any order. We also show that completely synthesized RNA move slowly through a transcription site proximal zone while they undergo additional splicing and potentially other processing after transcription is completed. In addition, upon leaving this zone, some genes' transcripts localize to speckles during the process of splicing but some appear to traffic free...Continue Reading

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