Therapeutic applications of trans-splicing.
BACKGROUND: RNA trans-splicing joins exons from different pre-mRNA transcripts to generate a chimeric product. Trans-splicing can also occur at the protein level, with split inteins mediating the ligation of separate gene products to generate a mature protein. SOURCES OF DATA: Comprehensive literature search of published research papers and reviews using Pubmed. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: Trans-splicing techniques have been used to target a wide range of diseases in both in vitro and in vivo models, resulting in RNA, protein and functional correction. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: Off-target effects can lead to therapeutically undesirable consequences. In vivo efficacy is typically low, and delivery issues remain a challenge. GROWING POINTS: Trans-splicing provides a promising avenue for developing novel therapeutic approaches. However, much more research needs to be done before developing towards preclinical studies. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: Increasing trans-splicing efficacy and specificity by rational design, screening and competitive inhibition of endogenous cis-splicing.