1 Computational and RNA Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Universitat Pompeu Fabra3 Computational and RNA Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet4 Universitat Pompeu Fabra
In higher eukaryotes, alternative splicing is usually regulated by protein factors, which bind to the pre-mRNA and affect the recognition of splicing signals. There is recent evidence that the secondary structure of the pre-mRNA may also play an important role in this process, either by facilitating or hindering the interaction with factors and small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) that regulate splicing. Moreover, the secondary structure could play a fundamental role in the splicing of yeast species, which lack many of the regulatory splicing factors present in metazoans. This chapter describes the steps in the analysis of the secondary structure of the pre-mRNA and its possible relation to splicing. As a working example, we use the case of yeast and the problem of the recognition of the 3' splice site (3'ss).