Gene of the month: PRPF31
Pre-mRNA splicing is an essential process in eukaryotic cells where the transcribed intronic sequences are removed, prior to translation into protein. PRPF31 is a ubiquitously expressed splicing factor, which aids in the assembly of the macromolecular spliceosome. Mutations in PRPF31 cause autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP), a form of retinal degeneration that causes progressive visual impairment. Interestingly, mutations in PRPF31 are non-penetrant, with some mutation carriers being phenotypically unaffected. In this review, the gene organisation, protein structure and biological function of PRPF31 are discussed, and the mechanisms of non-penetrance in PRPF31-associated adRP are discussed.