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Curr Biol. 2004 Aug 24;14(16):1487-91.

Lsm proteins promote regeneration of pre-mRNA splicing activity.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, United Kingdom.


Lsm proteins are ubiquitous, multifunctional proteins that affect the processing of most RNAs in eukaryotic cells, but their function is unknown. A complex of seven Lsm proteins, Lsm2-8, associates with the U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) that is a component of spliceosome complexes in which pre-mRNA splicing occurs. Spliceosomes contain five snRNAs, U1, U2, U4, U5, and U6, that are packaged as ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs). U4 and U6 snRNAs contain extensive sequence complementarity and interact to form U4/U6 di-snRNPs. U4/U6 di-snRNPs associate with U5 snRNPs to form U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNPs prior to spliceosome assembly. Within spliceosomes, disruption of base-paired U4/U6 heterodimer allows U6 snRNA to form part of the catalytic center. Following completion of the splicing reaction, snRNPs must be recycled for subsequent rounds of splicing, although little is known about this process. Here we present evidence that regeneration of splicing activity in vitro is dependent on Lsm proteins. RNP reconstitution experiments with exogenous U6 RNA show that Lsm proteins promote the formation of U6-containing complexes and suggest that Lsm proteins have a chaperone-like function, supporting the assembly or remodeling of RNP complexes involved in splicing. Such a function could explain the involvement of Lsm proteins in a wide variety of RNA processing pathways.

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