RNA Modifications: A Mechanism that Modulates Gene Expression

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Accuracy in the flow of genetic information from DNA to protein, or gene expression, is essential to the viability of an organisms. Pre-mRNA splicing and protein translation are two major steps in eukaryotic gene expression that necessitate the production of accurate gene products. Both processes occur in large complexes, consisting of both proteins and noncoding RNAs. Interestingly, the RNA components contain a large number of posttranscriptional modifications, including 2ʹ-O-methylation and pseudouridylation, which are functionally important. In this chapter, we highlight the functional aspects of the modifications of spliceosomal snRNA and rRNA and provide a framework for understanding how posttranscriptional modifications are capable of influencing gene expression.