Susan M.Berget, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology
Professor, Department of Biochemistry
Director, Cell and Molecular Biology Program
Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, 1974
Postdoctoral, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975-1978
Most genes in eucaryotes are interrupted by intervening sequences. Expression
of such genes requires extensive RNA processing of initial transcripts.
For pre-mRNA, processing involves both splicing and polyadenylation. Our
laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms operating during polyadenylation
and splicing with a long-term goal of understanding how processing is controlled
and altered to produce differentially processed mRNAs. An important paradigm
to emerge from our work known as exon definition has indicated that exons
and their flanking splice sites are the recognition unit during early spliceosome
formation, indicating interactions between the factors that bind 3' and
5' splice sites. We have also demonstrated communication between the splicing
and polyadenylation machinery during the recognition of 3' terminal exons.
Emphasis in recent years has concentrated on the mechanism whereby splicing
and polyadenylation are regulated and has lead to the identification of
accessory sequences, either enhancers or silencers. These sequences bind
special splicing factors to permit regulation. We are currently characterizing
factors that permit splicing of very small exons, very large exons, the
recognition of competing splice sites, and the differential inclusion of
both internal and 3'-terminal exons. We find that there is considerable
diversity in the set of factors that associate with an exon or intron regions
indicating gene-specific pre-mRNA recognition.
Niwa, M., MacDonald, C.F., and Berget, S.M. (1992) Are vertebrate exons
scanned during splice sites selection? Nature 360:277-280.
Berget, S.M. (1995) Exon recognition in vertebrate splicing. J. Biol.
Lou, H., R. F. Gagel, and S. M. Berget. 1996. An intron enhancer recognized
by splicing factors activates polyadenylation. Genes Devel. 10:208-219.
Carlo, T., D. A. Sterner, and S. M. Berget. 1996. An intron enhancer
containing a G-rich repeat facilitates inclusion of a vertebrate micro-exon.
Kennedy, C. F., and S. M. Berget. 1997. Pyrimidine tracts between the
5' splice site and the branch point facilitate splicing and recognition
of a small Drosophila intron. Mol. Cell. Biol. 17:2774-2780.
Elrick, L. L., M. B. Humphrey, T. A. Cooper, and S. M. Berget. 1998.
A Short Sequence within Two Purine-Rich Enhancers Determines 5' Splice
Site Specificity. Mol. Cell. Biol. 18:343-352.
Kennedy, C. F., A. Kraemer, and S. M. Berget. 1998. A role for SRp54
during intron bridging of small introns with pyrimidine tracts upstream
of the branch point. Mol. Cell. Biol. In press.
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