Int J Cell Biol 2013 28;2013:151839. Epub 2013 Aug 28.
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", 00133 Rome, Italy ; Laboratories of Neuroembryology and of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, 00143 Rome, Italy.
Alternative splicing (AS) is one of the key processes involved in the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic cells. AS catalyzes the removal of intronic sequences and the joining of selected exons, thus ensuring the correct processing of the primary transcript into the mature mRNA. The combinatorial nature of AS allows a great expansion of the genome coding potential, as multiple splice-variants encoding for different proteins may arise from a single gene. Splicing is mediated by a large macromolecular complex, the spliceosome, whose activity needs a fine regulation exerted by cis-acting RNA sequence elements and trans-acting RNA binding proteins (RBP). The activity of both core spliceosomal components and accessory splicing factors is modulated by their reversible phosphorylation. The kinases and phosphatases involved in these posttranslational modifications significantly contribute to AS regulation and to its integration in the complex regulative network that controls gene expression in eukaryotic cells. Herein, we will review the major canonical and noncanonical splicing factor kinases and phosphatases, focusing on those whose activity has been implicated in the aberrant splicing events that characterize neoplastic transformation.