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EMBO J. 1982;1(10):1259-65.

U2 RNA shares a structural domain with U1, U4, and U5 RNAs.


We previously reported common structural features within the 3'-terminal regions of U1, U4, and U5 RNAs. To check whether these features also exist in U2 RNA, the primary and secondary structures of the 3'-terminal regions of chicken, pheasant, and rat U2 RNAs were examined. Whereas no difference was observed between pheasant and chicken, the chicken and rat sequences were only 82.5% homologous. Such divergence allowed us to propose a unique model of secondary structure based on maximum base-pairing and secondary structure conservation. The same model was obtained from the results of limited digestion of U2 RNA with various nucleases. Comparison of this structure with those of U1, U4, and U5 RNAs shows that the four RNAs share a common structure designated as domain A, and consisting of a free single-stranded region with the sequence Pu-A-(U)n-G-Pup flanked by two hairpins. The hairpin on the 3' side is very stable and has the sequence Py-N-Py-Gp in the loop. The presence of this common domain is discussed in connection with relationships among U RNAs and common protein binding sites.

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