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J Cell Biol. 2010 Aug 23;190(4):603-12. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201004109.

Cajal body surveillance of U snRNA export complex assembly.

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  • 1Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Phosphorylated adaptor for RNA export (PHAX) is the key export mediator for spliceosomal U small nuclear RNA (snRNA) precursors in metazoa. PHAX is enriched in Cajal bodies (CBs), nuclear subdomains involved in the biogenesis of small ribonucleoproteins. However, CBs' role in U snRNA export has not been demonstrated. In this study, we show that U snRNA precursors microinjected into Xenopus laevis oocyte nuclei temporarily concentrate in CBs but gradually decrease as RNA export proceeds. Inhibition of PHAX activity by the coinjection of a specific anti-PHAX antibody or a dominant-negative PHAX mutant inhibits U snRNA export and simultaneously enhances accumulation of U snRNA precursors in CBs, indicating that U snRNAs transit through CBs before export and that binding to PHAX is required for efficient exit of U snRNAs from CBs. Similar results were obtained with U snRNAs transcribed from microinjected genes. These results reveal a novel function for CBs, which ensure that U snRNA precursors are properly bound by PHAX.

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