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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 September 11; 23(17): 3585–3593.
PMCID: PMC307241

Relative exon affinities and suboptimal splice site signals lead to non-equivalence of two cassette exons.


Tau is a microtubule-associated protein whose transcript undergoes complex regulated splicing in the mammalian nervous system. Exons 2 and 3 of the gene are alternatively spliced cassettes in which exon 3 never appears independently of exon 2. Expression of tau minigene constructs in cells indicate that exon 2 resembles a constitutive exon, while a suboptimal branch point connected to exon 3 inhibits inclusion of exon 3 in the mRNA. Splicing of the two tau exons is controlled by their relative affinities for each other versus the affinities of their flanking exons for them.

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