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J Mol Biol. 1992 Sep 5;227(1):15-28.

Direct binding of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein G to the Sm site of small nuclear RNA. Ultraviolet light cross-linking of protein G to the AAU stretch within the Sm site (AAUUUGUGG) of U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein reconstituted in vitro.

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  • 1Institut für Molekularbiologie und Tumorforschung, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.


The major small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) U1, U2, U5 and U4/U6 participate in the splicing of pre-mRNA. U1, U2, U4 and U5 RNAs share a highly conserved sequence motif PuA(U)nGPu, termed the Sm site, which is normally flanked by two hairpin loops. The Sm site provides the major binding site for the group of common proteins, B', B, D1, D2, D3, E, F and G, which are shared by the spliceosomal snRNPs. We have investigated the ability of common snRNP proteins to recognize the Sm site of snRNA by using ultraviolet light-induced RNA-protein cross-linking within U1 snRNP particles. The U1 snRNP particles, reconstituted in vitro, contained U1 snRNA labelled with 32P. Cross-linking of protein to this U1 snRNA occurred only in the presence of the single-stranded stretch of snRNA that makes up the conserved Sm site. Characterization of the cross-linked protein by one and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis indicated that snRNP protein G had become cross-linked to the U1 snRNA. This was confirmed by specific immunoprecipitation of the cross-linked RNA-protein complex with an anti-G antiserum. The cross-link was located on the U1 snRNA by fingerprint analysis with RNases T1 and A; this demonstrated that the protein G has been cross-linked to the AAU stretch within the 5'-terminal half of the Sm site (AAUUUGUGG). These results suggest that the snRNP protein G may be involved in the direct recognition of the Sm site.

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