Gene Expression, Intron Density, and Splice Site Strength in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis
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In this paper we investigate the relationships among intron density (number of introns per kilobase of coding sequence), gene expression level, and strength of splicing signals in two species: Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. We report a negative correlation between intron density and gene expression levels, opposite to the effect previously observed in human. An increase in splice site strength has been observed in long introns in D. melanogaster. We show this is also true of C. elegans. We also examine the relationship between intron density and splice site strength. There is an increase in splice site strength as the intron structure becomes less dense. This could suggest that introns are not recognized in isolation but could function in a cooperative manner to ensure proper splicing. This effect remains if we control for the effects of alternative splicing on splice site strength.
KeywordsIntron content Intron density Gene expression Alternative splicing mRNA splice sites
We wish to thank Laurent Duret for helpful discussions. This work was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Health Research Board.
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