Tandem alternative splice sites (TASS) form a defined class of alternative splicing and give rise to mRNA insertion/deletion variants with only small size differences. Previous work has confirmed evolutionary conservation of TASS elements while many cases show only low tissue specificity of isoform ratios. We pinpoint stochasticity and noise as important methodological issues for the dissection of TASS isoform patterns. Resolving such uncertainties, a recent report showed regulation in a cell culture system, with shifts of alternative splicing isoform ratios dependent on cell density. This novel type of regulation affects not only multiple TASS isoforms, but also other alternative splicing classes, in a concerted manner. Here, we discuss how specific regulatory network architectures may be realized through the novel regulation type and highlight the role of differential isoform functions as a key step in order to better understand the functional role of TASS.
Keywords: AS, alternative splicing; NAGNAG; PCAS, physiologically triggered, concerted shift in alternative splicing; TASS, tandem alternative splice sites; splice site choice; splicing factors; splicing regulation; tandem alternative splice sites.