Introns in UTRs: Why we should stop ignoring them

Authors

  • Alicia A. Bicknell,

    1. Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Can Cenik,

    1. Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Hon N. Chua,

    1. Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Frederick P. Roth,

    1. Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Melissa J. Moore

    Corresponding author
    1. Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
    2. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Worcester, MA, USA
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
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Abstract

Although introns in 5′- and 3′-untranslated regions (UTRs) are found in many protein coding genes, rarely are they considered distinctive entities with specific functions. Indeed, mammalian transcripts with 3′-UTR introns are often assumed nonfunctional because they are subject to elimination by nonsense-mediated decay (NMD). Nonetheless, recent findings indicate that 5′- and 3′-UTR intron status is of significant functional consequence for the regulation of mammalian genes. Therefore these features should be ignored no longer.

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