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Welcome to the Jean Beggs lab website


©Antonia Reeve


We study the mechanism of pre-messenger RNA splicing and links to transcription.

In most eukaryotic genes the information (or code) in the DNA sequence is interrupted by non-coding regions called "introns". An RNA copy of the gene has to be cut and then spliced back together to remove the introns and produce a continuous "message" with the correct information to produce a protein.

Mistakes in the splicing of the RNA cause serious problems as defective proteins are produced, and this sometimes happens as a consequence of genetic defects or disease. The splicing machinery is highly complex and must be tightly regulated. We aim to understand how the many components assemble to form a functional molecular machine (spliceosome) and how its activity is controlled. We are also interested in observed links between transcription, chromatin and splicing and we have obtained evidence that splicing can affect the progress of transcription. The RNA splicing machinery is highly conserved between yeast and humans. We use yeast as a model organism as many powerful experimental techniques are available and it can provide important insights into splicing in humans.

We are located within the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh