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Mol Cell Biol. 1988 Sep;8(9):3837-46.

Polycistronic transcripts in trypanosomes and their accumulation during heat shock: evidence for a precursor role in mRNA synthesis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.


Maturation of mRNA precursors in trypanosomes involves an apparent trans splicing event in which a 39-nucleotide miniexon sequence, common to all trypanosome mRNAs, is joined to the 5' end of a protein-coding exon. We demonstrate that the processing machinery responsible for the maturation of tubulin mRNA precursors in Trypanosoma brucei can be disrupted by heat shock. This results in an accumulation of polycistronic RNA species and a decrease in the abundance of branched splicing intermediates. At normal temperatures, tubulin polycistronic transcripts were also detected and were shown in pulse-chase experiments to be abundantly synthesized and very rapidly turned over. These results, combined with results of the heat shock experiments, suggest that these polycistronic transcripts are the precursors of the (monocistronic) tubulin mRNAs of trypanosomes.

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