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Mol Cell. 2007 Jun 22;26(6):867-81.

SR proteins function in coupling RNAP II transcription to pre-mRNA splicing.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Transcription and splicing are functionally coupled, resulting in highly efficient splicing of RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) transcripts. The mechanism involved in this coupling is not known. To identify potential coupling factors, we carried out a comprehensive proteomic analysis of immunopurified human RNAP II, identifying >100 specifically associated proteins. Among these are the SR protein family of splicing factors and all of the components of U1 snRNP, but no other snRNPs or splicing factors. We show that SR proteins function in coupling transcription to splicing and provide evidence that the mechanism involves cotranscriptional recruitment of SR proteins to RNAP II transcripts. We propose that the exclusive association of U1 snRNP/SR proteins with RNAP II positions these splicing factors, which are known to function early in spliceosome assembly, close to the nascent pre-mRNA. Thus, these factors readily out-compete inhibitory hnRNP proteins, resulting in efficient spliceosome assembly on nascent RNAP II transcripts.

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