Cis-splicing and translation of the pre-trans-splicing molecule combine with efficiency in spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing

Mol Ther. 2014 Jun;22(6):1176-1187. doi: 10.1038/mt.2014.35. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Muscular dystrophies are a group of genetically distinct diseases for which no treatment exists. While gene transfer approach is being tested for several of these diseases, such strategies can be hampered when the size of the corresponding complementary DNA (cDNA) exceeds the packaging capacity of adeno-associated virus vectors. This issue concerns, in particular, dysferlinopathies and titinopathies that are due to mutations in the dysferlin (DYSF) and titin (TTN) genes. We investigated the efficacy of RNA trans-splicing as a mode of RNA therapy for these two types of diseases. Results obtained with RNA trans-splicing molecules designed to target the 3' end of mouse titin and human dysferlin pre-mRNA transcripts indicated that trans-splicing of pre-mRNA generated from minigene constructs or from the endogenous genes was achieved. Collectively, these results provide the first demonstration of DYSF and TTN trans-splicing reprogramming in vitro and in vivo. However, in addition to these positive results, we uncovered a possible issue of the technique in the form of undesirable translation of RNA pre-trans-splicing molecules, directly from open reading frames present on the molecule or associated with internal alternative cis-splicing. These events may hamper the efficiency of the trans-splicing process and/or lead to toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Dysferlin
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophies / therapy*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Trans-Splicing


  • Dysf protein, mouse
  • Dysferlin
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Protein Kinases
  • titin protein, mouse