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Riedmayr, Lisa Maria; Böhm, Sybille; Michalakis, Stylianos; Becirovic, Elvir (2018): Construction and Cloning of Minigenes for in vivo Analysis of Potential Splice Mutations. In: Bio-Protocol, Vol. 8, No. 5, e2760
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Disease-associated mutations influencing mRNA splicing are referred to as splice mutations. The majority of splice mutations are found on exon-intron boundaries defining canonical donor and acceptor splice sites. However, mutations in the coding region (exonic mutations) can also affect mRNA splicing. Exact knowledge of the disease mechanism of splice mutations is essential for developing optimal treatment strategies. Given the large number of disease-associated mutations thus far identified, there is an unmet need for methods to systematically analyze the effects of pathogenic mutations on mRNA splicing. As splicing can vary between cell types, splice mutations need to be tested under native conditions if possible. A commonly used tool for the analysis of mRNA splicing is the construction of minigenes carrying exonic and intronic sequences. Here, we describe a protocol for the design and cloning of minigenes into recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors for gene delivery and investigation of mRNA splicing in a native context. This protocol was developed for minigene-based analysis of mRNA splicing in retinal cells, however, in principle it is applicable to any cell type, which can be transduced with rAAV vectors.