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Trans-splicing is a special form of RNA processing in eukaryotes where exons from two different primary RNA transcripts are joined end to end and ligated.

Whereas "normal" (cis-)splicing processes a single molecule, trans-splicing generates an single RNA transcript from multiple separate pre-mRNAs. This phenomenon can be exploited for molecular therapy to address mutated gene products.[1]

Trans-splicing can be the mechanism behind certain oncogenic fusion transcripts.[2][3]

Trans-splicing is used by certain microbial organisms, notably protozoa of the Kinetoplastae class to produce variable surface antigens and change from one life stage to another.


  1. ^ Iwasaki R, Kiuchi H, Ihara M, Mori T, Kawakami M, Ueda H (Jul 2009). "Trans-splicing as a novel method to rapidly produce antibody fusion proteins". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 384 (3): 316–21. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.04.122. PMID 19409879. 
  2. ^ Li H, Wang J, Mor G, Sklar J (Sep 2008). "A neoplastic gene fusion mimics trans-splicing of RNAs in normal human cells". Science 321 (5894): 1357–61. doi:10.1126/science.1156725. PMID 18772439. 
  3. ^ Rickman DS, Pflueger D, Moss B, VanDoren VE, Chen CX, de la Taille A, Kuefer R, Tewari AK, Setlur SR, Demichelis F, Rubin MA (Apr 2009). "SLC45A3-ELK4 is a novel and frequent erythroblast transformation-specific fusion transcript in prostate cancer". Cancer Research 69 (7): 2734–8. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4926. PMID 19293179. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Dixon RJ, Eperon IC, Samani NJ (Jan 2007). "Complementary intron sequence motifs associated with human exon repetition: a role for intragenic, inter-transcript interactions in gene expression". Bioinformatics 23 (2): 150–5. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btl575. PMID 17105720. 
  • Yang Y, Walsh CE (Dec 2005). "Spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing". Molecular Therapy 12 (6): 1006–12. doi:10.1016/j.ymthe.2005.09.006. PMID 16226059. 
  • Coady TH, Shababi M, Tullis GE, Lorson CL (Aug 2007). "Restoration of SMN function: delivery of a trans-splicing RNA re-directs SMN2 pre-mRNA splicing". Molecular Therapy 15 (8): 1471–8. doi:10.1038/ PMID 17551501. 
  • Wally V, Murauer EM, Bauer JW (Aug 2012). "Spliceosome-mediated trans-splicing: the therapeutic cut and paste". The Journal of Investigative Dermatology 132 (8): 1959–66. doi:10.1038/jid.2012.101. PMID 22495179.