Current Genetics

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 375–380 | Cite as

The power of fission: yeast as a tool for understanding complex splicing



Pre-mRNA splicing is an essential component of eukaryotic gene expression. Many metazoans, including humans, regulate alternative splicing patterns to generate expansions of their proteome from a limited number of genes. Importantly, a considerable fraction of human disease causing mutations manifest themselves through altering the sequences that shape the splicing patterns of genes. Thus, understanding the mechanistic bases of this complex pathway will be an essential component of combating these diseases. Dating almost to the initial discovery of splicing, researchers have taken advantage of the genetic tractability of budding yeast to identify the components and decipher the mechanisms of splicing. However, budding yeast lacks the complex splicing machinery and alternative splicing patterns most relevant to humans. More recently, many researchers have turned their efforts to study the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, which has retained many features of complex splicing, including degenerate splice site sequences, the usage of exonic splicing enhancers, and SR proteins. Here, we review recent work using fission yeast genetics to examine pre-mRNA splicing, highlighting its promise for modeling the complex splicing seen in higher eukaryotes.


Pre-mRNA splicing Schizosaccharomyces pombe SR proteins Alternative splicing Exon definition 



Authors wish to thank Tokio Tani and members of the Pleiss lab for helpful comments on this manuscript. This work was funded by National Institutes of Health Grant GM098634.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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