Human messenger RNA — the intermediate step between DNA and protein — is a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Any book contains chapters arranged to tell a story. However, in a choose-your-own adventure, random chapters can be removed and the remaining sections stitched together in different combinations — and all of these new combinations tell a new story.
The process of taking out chapters, or sections of RNA, and putting what remains back together is called splicing, and it is performed by a molecular machine called the spliceosome. The lab of assistant professor Aaron Hoskins in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry is studying the inner workings of this complex machine to understand not only how it works but also how mutations of the spliceosome can lead to disease. Their recent findings published in Nucleic Acids Research could advance scientists’ understanding of how mutations in the spliceosome can lead to health problems like cancer.
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