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EMBO J. 1990 Jul;9(7):2299-308.

In vivo disruption of Xenopus U3 snRNA affects ribosomal RNA processing.

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Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.


DNA oligonucleotide complementary to sequences in the 5' third of U3 snRNA were injected into Xenopus oocyte nuclei to disrupt endogenous U3 snRNA. The effect of this treatment on rRNA processing was examined. We found that some toads have a single rRNA processing pathway, whereas in other toads, two rRNA processing pathways can coexist in a single oocyte. U3 snRNA disruption in toads with the single rRNA processing pathway caused a reduction in 20S and '32S' pre-rRNA. In addition, in toads with two rRNA processing pathways, an increase in '36S' pre-rRNA of the second pathway is observed. This is the first in vivo demonstration that U3 snRNA plays a role in rRNA processing. Cleavage site #3 is at the boundary of ITS 1 and 5.8S and links all of the affected rRNA intermediates: 20S and '32S' are the products of site #3 cleavage in the first pathway and '36S' is the substrate for cleavage at site #3 in the second pathway. We postulate that U3 snRNP folds pre-rRNA into a conformation dictating correct cleavage at processing site #3.

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