Alternative trans-splicing: a novel mode of pre-mRNA processing




Alternative splicing is an important process contributing to proteome diversity without involving an increase in the number of genes. In some cases, alternative splicing is carried out under ‘trans-mode’, called alternative trans-splicing, in which exons located on separate pre-mRNA molecules are selectively joined to produce mature mRNAs encoding proteins with distinct structures and functions. However, it is not known how widespread or how frequently trans-splicing occurs in vivo. Recently, trans-allelic trans-splicing has been unambiguously demonstrated in Drosophila using a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) as a marker. In this review, we provide an overview of alternative trans-splicing in Drosophila and mammals, and discuss its mechanisms.