An exon is any part of a gene that will encode a part of the final mature RNA produced by that gene after introns have been removed by RNA splicing. The term. Introns are non-coding sections of an RNA transcript, or the DNA encoding it, which are spliced out, or removed, before the RNA molecule is translated into a. In most eukaryotic genes, coding regions (exons) are interrupted by noncoding regions (introns). During transcription, the entire gene is copied into a pre-mRNA, .

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In tandem genomic duplication, due to the similarity between consensus donor and acceptor splice sites, which both closely resemble AGGT, the tandem genomic duplication of an exonic segment harboring an AGGT sequence generates two potential splice sites. Comparative analysis of noncoding regions of 77 orthologous mouse and human gene pairs.

Retrieved from ” https: According to Comeron et al.

The genealogy of some recently evolved vertebrate proteins. Pattern of selective constraint in C. Longer first introns are a general property of eukaryotic gene structure. Proto-genes and de novo gene birth.

Introns were first discovered in protein-coding genes of adenovirus[5] [6] and were subsequently identified in genes encoding transfer RNA eksson ribosomal RNA genes. In highly expressed yeast genes, introns inhibit R-loop formation and the occurrence of DNA damage.

Retrieved 12 December This intron-containing mRNA is then reverse transcribed and the resulting intron-containing cDNA may then cause intron gain via complete or partial recombination with its original genomic locus. Journal of Molecular Biology. Not to be confused with axonthe dxn of a neuronor Exxona brand of fuel sold by ExxonMobil, or hexona viral protein.

A scientist knows that a new gene has been trapped when the reporter gene is expressed. We reviewed here putative functional roles of introns in various cellular processes such as splicing, mRNA transport, NMD, and expression regulation. New advanced molecular biology techniques will lead to iintron functional territories of introns in a more detailed scale in the near future.


Considering that the ncRNAs located in introns are co-expressed and co-regulated with their host genes by the promoters and splicing machineries of host genes, they are considered to be involved in auto-regulation of the expression of host genes [ 46 ].

The exons are then linked together by a second protein, the tRNA splicing ligase. A similar observation was made in mammals, as well [ 51 ]. The Intrpn interference was basically described as genetic linkage between two sites under selection in finite populations, leading to decreasing effectiveness of natural selection [ 41 ].

Subsequently, we summarize the functional characteristics of introns that have been studied providing clues about the adaptive significance of introns in genomes. Introns are now known to occur within a wide variety of genes throughout organisms and viruses within all of the biological kingdoms.

The effect of intron length on exon creation ratios during the evolution of mammalian genomes. Nuclear pre-mRNA introns are often much longer than their surrounding exons.

Introns: The Functional Benefits of Introns in Genomes

It is not yet understood why these elements are spliced, whether by chance, or by some ejson action by the transposon. Remarkable interkingdom conservation of intron positions and massive, lineage-specific intron loss and gain in eukaryotic evolution. In that sense, long non-coding intron regions in higher eukaryotes can be a good reservoir of short and non-functional ORFs.

Introns increase gene expression in cultured maize cells. In theory it should be easiest to deduce the origin of recently gained introns due to the lack of host-induced mutations, yet even introns gained recently did not arise from any of the aforementioned mechanisms. These findings thus raise the question of whether or not the proposed mechanisms of intron gain fail to describe the mechanistic origin of many novel introns because they are not accurate mechanisms of intron gain, or if there are other, yet to be discovered, processes generating novel introns.


It has been noticed that the number of genes varies little between these eukaryotic species ranging less than 2-fold from 14, genes to 25, genes, whereas the size of introns greatly varies up to several fold, implicating that introns might have roles in determining species-specific characteristics and complexities [ 8 ]. Exon trapping or ‘ gene trapping ‘ is a molecular biology technique that exploits the existence of the intron-exon splicing to find new genes.

Oswald A, Oates AC. We divide the functional roles of introns into two different categories, i. Additionally, we showed in the same paper that the proportions of regulatory histone marks are positively associated with the levels of gene expressions in 12 normal human tissues including kidney, heart, liver, and ovary [ 39 ].

Introns: The Functional Benefits of Introns in Genomes

Chorev M, Carmel L. In that regard, we summarize previous research about the functional roles or benefits of introns. Look up intron in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Many studies have discussed selective advantages that introns bring to the cell in eukaryotes, contributing to overcoming the energetic disadvantage [ 21011121314151617181920 ]. It is problematic, though, that the ‘function’ of genes in molecular biology generally has been limited in the concept of ‘protein function’. For instance, about half of the miRNAs in the human genome are located in introns, and they are usually co-expressed with their host genes regulated by the promoters of host genes [ 44 ].

Why genes in pieces? Apart from these three short conserved elements, nuclear pre-mRNA intron sequences are highly variable. Nonsense-mediated decay NMD was originally known as a surveillance mechanism in eukaryotes that selectively removes mRNAs containing erroneously generated premature termination codons PTCs.