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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 636050, 10 pages
Review Article

Alternative Splicing Regulation of Cancer-Related Pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans: An In Vivo Model System with a Powerful Reverse Genetics Toolbox

1SomaGenics, Inc., Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
2Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, The Center for Molecular Biology of RNA, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 29 July 2013

Academic Editor: Claudio Sette

Copyright © 2013 Sergio Barberán-Soler and James Matthew Ragle. 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.


Alternative splicing allows for the generation of protein diversity and fine-tunes gene expression. Several model systems have been used for the in vivo study of alternative splicing. Here we review the use of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study splicing regulation in vivo. Recent studies have shown that close to 25% of genes in the worm genome undergo alternative splicing. A big proportion of these events are functional, conserved, and under strict regulation either across development or other conditions. Several techniques like genome-wide RNAi screens and bichromatic reporters are available for the study of alternative splicing in worms. In this review, we focus, first, on the main studies that have been performed to dissect alternative splicing in this system and later on examples from genes that have human homologs that are implicated in cancer. The significant advancement towards understanding the regulation of alternative splicing and cancer that the C. elegans system has offered is discussed.