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J Mol Biol. 2007 Apr 13;367(5):1447-58. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Structure and interactions of the first three RNA recognition motifs of splicing factor prp24.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The essential Saccharomyces cerevisiae pre-messenger RNA splicing protein 24 (Prp24) has four RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) and facilitates U6 RNA base-pairing with U4 RNA during spliceosome assembly. Prp24 is a component of the free U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) but not the U4/U6 bi-snRNP, and so is thought to be displaced from U6 by U4/U6 base-pairing. The interaction partners of each of the four RRMs of Prp24 and how these interactions direct U4/U6 pairing are not known. Here we report the crystal structure of the first three RRMs and the solution structure of the first two RRMs of Prp24. Strikingly, RRM 2 forms extensive inter-domain contacts with RRMs 1 and 3. These contacts occupy much of the canonical RNA-binding faces (beta-sheets) of RRMs 1 and 2, but leave the beta-sheet of RRM 3 exposed. Previously identified substitutions in Prp24 that suppress mutations in U4 and U6 spliceosomal RNAs cluster primarily in the beta-sheet of RRM 3, but also in a conserved loop of RRM 2. RNA binding assays and chemical shift mapping indicate that a large basic patch evident on the surface of RRMs 1 and 2 is part of a high affinity U6 RNA binding site. Our results suggest that Prp24 binds free U6 RNA primarily with RRMs 1 and 2, which may remodel the U6 secondary structure. The beta-sheet of RRM 3 then influences U4/U6 pairing through interaction with an unidentified ligand.

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