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J Mol Biol. 2002 Apr 12;317(5):631-49.

Direct probing of RNA structure and RNA-protein interactions in purified HeLa cell's and yeast spliceosomal U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP particles.

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  • 1UMR 7567 CNRS-UHP Nancy I, Maturation des ARN et Enzymologie Moléculaire, Université H. Poincaré B.P. 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-les Nancy Cédex, France.


The U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP is a key component of spliceosomes. By using chemical reagents and RNases, we performed the first extensive experimental analysis of the structure and accessibility of U4 and U6 snRNAs in tri-snRNPs. These were purified from HeLa cell nuclear extract and Saccharomyces cerevisiae cellular extract. U5 accessibility was also investigated. For both species, data demonstrate the formation of the U4/U6 Y-shaped structure. In the human tri-snRNP and U4/U6 snRNP, U6 forms the long range interaction, that was previously proposed to be responsible for dissociation of the deproteinized U4/U6 duplex. In both yeast and human tri-snRNPs, U5 is more protected than U4 and U6, suggesting that the U5 snRNP-specific protein complex and other components of the tri-snRNP wrapped the 5' stem-loop of U5. Loop I of U5 is partially accessible, and chemical modifications of loop I were identical in yeast and human tri-snRNPs. This reflects a strong conservation of the interactions of proteins with the functional loop I. Only some parts of the U4/U6 Y-shaped motif (the 5' stem-loop of U4 and helix II) are protected. Due to difference of protein composition of yeast and human tri-snRNP, the U6 segment linking the 5' stem-loop to the Y-shaped structure and the U4 central single-stranded segment are more accessible in the yeast than in the human tri-snRNP, especially, the phylogenetically conserved ACAGAG sequence of U6. Data are discussed taking into account knowledge on RNA and protein components of yeast and human snRNPs and their involvement in splicesome assembly.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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