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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 153634, 12 pages
Review Article

RNA Splicing: A New Player in the DNA Damage Response

Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 2, I-20126 Milan, Italy

Received 8 May 2013; Revised 13 August 2013; Accepted 14 August 2013

Academic Editor: Claudio Sette

Copyright © 2013 Silvia C. Lenzken et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is widely accepted that tumorigenesis is a multistep process characterized by the sequential accumulation of genetic alterations. However, the molecular basis of genomic instability in cancer is still partially understood. The observation that hereditary cancers are often characterized by mutations in DNA repair and checkpoint genes suggests that accumulation of DNA damage is a major contributor to the oncogenic transformation. It is therefore of great interest to identify all the cellular pathways that contribute to the response to DNA damage. Recently, RNA processing has emerged as a novel pathway that may contribute to the maintenance of genome stability. In this review, we illustrate several different mechanisms through which pre-mRNA splicing and genomic stability can influence each other. We specifically focus on the role of splicing factors in the DNA damage response and describe how, in turn, activation of the DDR can influence the activity of splicing factors.