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Plant Cell. 1996 Aug;8(8):1421-35.

Structure and expression of a plant U1 snRNP 70K gene: alternative splicing of U1 snRNP 70K pre-mRNAs produces two different transcripts.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


The product of the U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (U1 snRNP) 70K (U1-70K) gene, a U1 snRNP-specific protein, has been implicated in basic as well as alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs in animals. Here, we report the isolation of full-length cDNAs and the corresponding genomic clone encoding a U1-70K protein from a plant system. The Arabidopsis U1-70K protein is encoded by a single gene, which is located on chromosome 3. Several lines of evidence indicate that two distinct transcripts (short and long) are produced from the same gene by alternative splicing of the U1-70K pre-mRNA. The alternative splicing involves inclusion or exclusion of a region (910 bp) that we named "included intron." Two transcripts were clearly detectable in all tissues tested, and the level of the transcripts varied in different organs. The deduced amino acid (427 residues) sequence from the short transcript has strong homology to the animal U1-70K protein and contains an RNA recognition motif, a glycine hinge, and an arginine-rich region characteristic of the animal U1-70K protein. The long transcript has an in-frame translational termination codon within the 910-bp included intron, resulting in a truncated protein containing only 204 amino acids. The protein encoded by the short transcript is recognized by U1 RNP-specific monoclonal antibodies and binds specifically to the Arabidopsis U1 snRNA, whereas the protein from the long transcript does not. In addition, multiple polyadenylation sites were observed in the 3' untranslated region. These results suggest a complex post-transcriptional regulation of Arabidopsis U1-70K gene expression.

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