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J Mol Biol. 1989 Jan 20;205(2):275-89.

Protein encoded by the third intron of cytochrome b gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an mRNA maturase. Analysis of mitochondrial mutants, RNA transcripts proteins and evolutionary relationships.

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  • 1Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du C.N.R.S., Laboratoire Propre Associé à l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


We have established the nucleotide sequence of the wild-type and that of a trans-acting mutant located in the third (bi3) intron of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The intron, 1691 base-pairs long, has an open reading frame 1045 base-pairs long, in phase with the preceding exon and the mutation replaces the evolutionarily conserved Gly codon of the second consensus motif by an Asp codon and blocks the formation of mature cytochrome b mRNA. Splicing intermediates of 5300 and 3900 bases with unexcised bi3 intron and a characteristic novel polypeptide (p50), the size of which corresponds to the chimeric protein encoded by upstream exons and the bi3 intronic open reading frame (ORF), accumulate in this and other bi3 splicing-deficient mutants. We conclude that the protein encoded by the bi3 ORF is a specific mRNA maturase involved in the splicing of the cytochrome b mRNA. The open reading frame of the third intron is remarkably similar to that of the unique intron of the cytochrome b gene (cob A) of Aspergillus nidulans. Both are located in exactly the same position and possibly derive from a recent common ancestor by a horizontal transfer. We have established the nucleotide sequence of an exonic mutant located in the B3 exon. This missense mutation changes the Phe codon 151 into a Cys codon and leads to the absence of functional cytochrome b but does not affect splicing. Finally, we have studied the splicing pathway leading to the synthesis of cytochrome b mRNA by analysing, in a comprehensive manner, the 22 splicing intermediates of several mutants located in bi3.

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