A factor that regulates gene function by splicing messenger RNA may be involved in tumor formation, according to research to be published in the March 2007 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Adrian Krainer and colleagues report that SF2/ASF is present at abnormally high levels in human tumor cells.
Splicing is one form of messenger RNA regulation and, rather like editing a reel of film, involves cutting out segments and pasting the message back together again. Splicing factors, such as SF2/ASF, can regulate which parts of the original message end up in the final edit, and can profoundly alter the function of the final gene product depending on which segments are kept in the message.
The authors find that deliberately increasing SF2/ASF expression alters the splicing status of a number of genes that have previously been implicated in promoting tumor formation when misregulated. This, they suggest, might lead to unchecked cell growth and the loss of the cell death safety net that would usually eliminate such out of control cells.
Adrian Krainer (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology press release.
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