This volume focuses on the major aspects of post-transcriptional mRNA processing in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. Each of the described mRNA reactions is required for proper gene expression and can also serve as a control point for regulating the expression of many genes, for example during embryonic development or in different cell types. The different chapters review the assembly of newly synthesized nuclear mRNA transcripts into hnRNP particles and catalytically active spliceosomes; the structure and mechanism of action of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles and protein factors that catalyse pre-mRNA splicing in mammalian cells and in yeast; the regulation of gene expression and generation of protein isoform diversity by alternative splicing; the mechanisms of 3' end cleavage and polyadenylation; the architecture of the cell nucleus in relation to these processes and to the localization of the relevant substrates and factors; the diverse mechanisms of RNA processing by ribozymes and their potential relevance for nuclear mRNA processing; the mechanism of spliced-leader addition by trans-splicing in nematodes and trypanosomes; and the process of insertion/deletion mRNA editing in kinetoplasmid protozoa. In each chapter, leading researchers have provided detailed, critical reviews of the history, experimental approaches, major advances, current ideas and models, as well as future directions, for each of these active areas of research.
"It was only 20 years ago that an mRNA was considered to be a hard-wired connector, faithfully transporting the linear genetic code from DNA to ribosomes. All this changed with the discovery of mRNA splicing in the late 1970s. The realization that the initial RNA transcript must be extensively processed prior to nuclear export and translation has opened up a whole new field of molecular biology--RNA processing. Research in this area has culminated in an appreciation for the full extent to which processing of an mRNA determines both its functional capacity and its coding potential. . . . [T]he chapters present and attempt to reconcile disparate findings and models. The writing is clear, references are copious, and the figures ... are useful adjuncts to the text. . . . The revolution in our understanding of eukaryotic mRNA biology brought on by the past 20 years of research on RNA processing is nicely captured, documented, and synthesized in this volume."--The Quarterly Review of Bio
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