Pre-mRNA Processing Factors and Retinitis Pigmentosa: RNA Splicing and Beyond

Chunbo Yang, Maria Georgiou, Robert Atkinson, Joseph Collin, Jumana Al-Aama, Sushma Nagaraja-Grellscheid, Colin Johnson, Robin Ali, Lyle Armstrong, Sina Mozaffari-Jovin, Majlinda Lako*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the most common inherited retinal disease characterized by progressive degeneration of photoreceptors and/or retinal pigment epithelium that eventually results in blindness. Mutations in pre-mRNA processing factors (PRPF3, 4, 6, 8, 31, SNRNP200, and RP9) have been linked to 15–20% of autosomal dominant RP (adRP) cases. Current evidence indicates that PRPF mutations cause retinal specific global spliceosome dysregulation, leading to mis-splicing of numerous genes that are involved in a variety of retina-specific functions and/or general biological processes, including phototransduction, retinol metabolism, photoreceptor disk morphogenesis, retinal cell polarity, ciliogenesis, cytoskeleton and tight junction organization, waste disposal, inflammation, and apoptosis. Importantly, additional PRPF functions beyond RNA splicing have been documented recently, suggesting a more complex mechanism underlying PRPF-RPs driven disease pathogenesis. The current review focuses on the key RP-PRPF genes, depicting the current understanding of their roles in RNA splicing, impact of their mutations on retinal cell’s transcriptome and phenome, discussed in the context of model species including yeast, zebrafish, and mice. Importantly, information on PRPF functions beyond RNA splicing are discussed, aiming at a holistic investigation of PRPF-RP pathogenesis. Finally, work performed in human patient-specific lab models and developing gene and cell-based replacement therapies for the treatment of PRPF-RPs are thoroughly discussed to allow the reader to get a deeper understanding of the disease mechanisms, which we believe will facilitate the establishment of novel and better therapeutic strategies for PRPF-RP patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number700276
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021


  • animal models
  • circadian rhythm
  • DNA damage and repair
  • gene therapy
  • pre-mRNA processing factor
  • retinitis pigmentosa
  • spliceosome
  • splicing


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