Alternative Splicing Regulatory Networks: Functions, Mechanisms, and Evolution

Mol Cell. 2019 Oct 17;76(2):329-345. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.09.017.


High-throughput sequencing-based methods and their applications in the study of transcriptomes have revolutionized our understanding of alternative splicing. Networks of functionally coordinated and biologically important alternative splicing events continue to be discovered in an ever-increasing diversity of cell types in the context of physiologically normal and disease states. These studies have been complemented by efforts directed at defining sequence codes governing splicing and their cognate trans-acting factors, which have illuminated important combinatorial principles of regulation. Additional studies have revealed critical roles of position-dependent, multivalent protein-RNA interactions that direct splicing outcomes. Investigations of evolutionary changes in RNA binding proteins, splice variants, and associated cis elements have further shed light on the emergence, mechanisms, and functions of splicing networks. Progress in these areas has emphasized the need for a coordinated, community-based effort to systematically address the functions of individual splice variants associated with normal and disease biology.

Keywords: RNA map; RNP condensate; alternative splicing; cryptic splice site; evolution; exon definition; microexon; multivalency; phase separation; recursive splicing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / physiology*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • RNA-Binding Proteins