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Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2013 Oct 1;2013(10):986-9. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot078139.

Analysis of splicing complexes on native gels.

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Splicing requires a complex set of ATP-dependent macromolecular associations that lead to the rearrangement of just a few covalent bonds in the pre-mRNA substrate. Seeing only the covalent bonds breaking and forming is seeing only a very small part of the process. Analysis of native splicing complexes into which the radiolabeled substrate has been assembled, but not necessarily completely reacted, has provided a good understanding of the process. This protocol describes a gel method for detecting and analyzing yeast splicing complexes formed in vitro on a radiolabeled pre-mRNA substrate. Complexes formed during the splicing reaction are quenched by dilution and addition of an excess of RNA, which is thought to strip nonspecifically bound proteins from the labeled substrate RNA. After loading on a low-percentage, low-cross-linking ratio composite agarose-acrylamide gel (in 10% glycerol), labeled bands are detected. These can be extracted and shown to contain small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and partly reacted pre-mRNA.

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