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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043707. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

The minor spliceosomal protein U11/U12-31K is an RNA chaperone crucial for U12 intron splicing and the development of dicot and monocot plants.

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Department of Plant Biotechnology and Kumho Life Science Laboratory, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea.


U12 intron-specific spliceosomes contain U11 and U12 small nuclear ribonucleoproteins and mediate the removal of U12 introns from precursor-mRNAs. Among the several proteins unique to the U12-type spliceosomes, an Arabidopsis thaliana AtU11/U12-31K protein has been shown to be indispensible for proper U12 intron splicing and for normal growth and development of Arabidopsis plants. Here, we assessed the functional roles of the rice (Oryza sativa) OsU11/U12-31K protein in U12 intron splicing and development of plants. The U11/U12-31K transcripts were abundantly expressed in the shoot apical meristems (SAMs) of Arabidopsis and rice. Ectopic expression of OsU11/U12-31K in AtU11/U12-31K-defecient Arabidopsis mutant complemented the incorrect U12 intron splicing and abnormal development phenotypes of the Arabidopsis mutant plants. Impaired cell division activity in the SAMs and inflorescence stems observed in the AtU11/U12-31K-deficient mutant was completely recovered to normal by the expression of OsU11/U12-31K. Similar to Arabidopsis AtU11/U12-31K, rice OsU11/U12-31K was determined to harbor RNA chaperone activity. Collectively, the present findings provide evidence for the emerging idea that the U11/U12-31K protein is an indispensible RNA chaperone that functions in U12 intron splicing and is necessary for normal development of monocotyledonous plants as well as dicotyledonous plants.

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