Biomed Res Int 2015 26;2015:543067. Epub 2015 Jul 26.
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy ; Laboratory of Neuroembryology, Fondazione Santa Lucia, 00143 Rome, Italy.
Alternative splicing (AS) represents a major resource for eukaryotic cells to expand the coding potential of their genomes and to finely regulate gene expression in response to both intra- and extracellular cues. Cancer cells exploit the flexible nature of the mechanisms controlling AS in order to increase the functional diversity of their proteome. By altering the balance of splice isoforms encoded by human genes or by promoting the expression of aberrant oncogenic splice variants, cancer cells enhance their ability to adapt to the adverse growth conditions of the tumoral microenvironment. Herein, we will review the most relevant cancer-related splicing events and the underlying regulatory mechanisms allowing tumour cells to rapidly adapt to the harsh conditions they may face during the occurrence and development of cancer.