One of the major surprises arose from sequencing of human genome is that the total number of protein coding genes is much lower than previously estimated, indicating that additional genomic complexity is introduced at the level of RNA processing. The pre-mRNA of more than half of all human genes undergo alternative splicing, which is an important way to increase genome complexity from fly to human. The splicing process is tightly regulated in different tissues and developmental stages, and the disruption of splicing regulation leads to a wide range of human diseases.
The long-term objective of our research is to understand how the splicing is regulated inside a cell. We want to determine a set of rules for splicing regulation which we called “splice code”. We also seek to use our understanding of splice code (i.e. how splicing is regulated) to design novel therapeutics to treat splicing related human diseases.