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Genes Dev. 2012 Nov 1;26(21):2422-34. doi: 10.1101/gad.200949.112.

The Prp8 RNase H-like domain inhibits Brr2-mediated U4/U6 snRNA unwinding by blocking Brr2 loading onto the U4 snRNA.

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Department of Cellular Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The spliceosomal RNA helicase Brr2 catalyzes unwinding of the U4/U6 snRNA duplex, an essential step for spliceosome catalytic activation. Brr2 is regulated in part by the spliceosomal Prp8 protein by an unknown mechanism. We demonstrate that the RNase H (RH) domain of yeast Prp8 binds U4/U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) with the single-stranded regions of U4 and U6 preceding U4/U6 stem I, contributing to its binding. Via cross-linking coupled with mass spectrometry, we identify RH domain residues that contact the U4/U6 snRNA. We further demonstrate that the same single-stranded region of U4 preceding U4/U6 stem I is recognized by Brr2, indicating that it translocates along U4 and first unwinds stem I of the U4/U6 duplex. Finally, we show that the RH domain of Prp8 interferes with U4/U6 unwinding by blocking Brr2's interaction with the U4 snRNA. Our data reveal a novel mechanism whereby Prp8 negatively regulates Brr2 and potentially prevents premature U4/U6 unwinding during splicing. They also support the idea that the RH domain acts as a platform for the exchange of U6 snRNA for U1 at the 5' splice site. Our results provide insights into the mechanism whereby Brr2 unwinds U4/U6 and show how this activity is potentially regulated prior to spliceosome activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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