Protein splicing: excision of intervening sequences at the protein level

Bioessays. 1993 Oct;15(10):667-74. doi: 10.1002/bies.950151006.


Protein splicing is an extraordinary post-translational reaction that removes an intact central "spacer" domain (Sp) from precursor proteins (N-Sp-C) while splicing together the N- and C-domains of the precursor, via a peptide bond, to produce a new protein (N-C). All of the available data on protein splicing fit a model in which these intervening sequences excise at the protein level via a self-splicing mechanism. Several proteins have recently been discovered that undergo protein splicing, and in two such cases, the excised spacer protein is an endonuclease. Such endonucleases are capable of conferring genetic mobility upon the intervening sequences that encodes them. These intervening sequences define a new family of mobile genetic elements that are translated yet remain phenotypically silent by excising at the protein rather than the RNA level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Concanavalin A / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases*
  • Rec A Recombinases / biosynthesis
  • Rec A Recombinases / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Protein Precursors
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Concanavalin A
  • Rec A Recombinases
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • VMA1 protein, S cerevisiae