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EMBO J. 1990 Jun;9(6):1915-21.

Transcription of a nematode trans-spliced leader RNA requires internal elements for both initiation and 3' end-formation.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106.


We have used block substitution mutagenesis and in vitro transcription to define sequence elements important for efficient initiation and 3' end-formation of the trans-spliced leader RNA (SL RNA) of the parasitic nematode Ascaris lumbricoides. These experiments indicate that the SL RNA has an unusual promoter structure containing elements which include the 22 nt trans-spliced leader exon itself. Efficient transcription is correlated with the binding of a factor to the 22 nt (SL) sequence; mutations within the SL which abolish transcription lead to a loss in binding of this factor. In addition to internal sequences, synthesis of SL RNA in vitro requires an element centered 50 bases upstream of the cap site. Mutations within this element dramatically affect the level of SL RNA synthesis but do not affect accuracy of initiation. Finally, all of the information required for accurate 3' end-formation of SL RNA lies within the transcribed region. Thus, the arrangement of sequences necessary for the synthesis of SL RNAs does not resemble that of sequences important for the synthesis of vertebrate U snRNAs despite the similarities between SL RNAs and U snRNAs.

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