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RNA. 1998 Feb;4(2):167-80.

Genetic interaction between U6 snRNA and the first intron nucleotide in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


Nuclear pre-mRNA splicing necessitates specific recognition of the pre-mRNA splice sites. It is known that 5' splice site selection requires base pairing of U6 snRNA with intron positions 4-6. However, no factor recognizing the highly conserved 5' splice site GU has yet been identified. We have tested if the known U6 snRNA-pre-mRNA interaction could be extended to include the first intron nucleotides and the conserved 50GAG52 sequence of U6 snRNA. We observe that some combinations of 5' splice site and U6 snRNA mutations produce a specific synthetic block to the first splicing step. In addition, the U6-G52U allele can switch between two competing 5' splice sites harboring different nucleotides following the cleavage site. These results indicate that U6 snRNA position 52 interacts with the first nucleotide of the intron before 5' splice site cleavage. Some combinations of U6 snRNA and pre-mRNA mutations also blocked the second splicing step, suggesting a role for the corresponding nucleotides in a proofreading step before exon ligation. From studies in diverse organisms, various functions have been ascribed to the conserved U6 snRNA 47ACAGAG52 sequence. Our results suggest that these discrepancies might reflect variations between different experimental systems and point to an important conserved role of this sequence in the splicing reaction.

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