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Cell. 1997 Mar 21;88(6):865-74.

Mobility of yeast mitochondrial group II introns: engineering a new site specificity and retrohoming via full reverse splicing.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9148, USA.


The mobile group II introns aI1 and aI2 of yeast mtDNA encode endonuclease activities that cleave intronless DNA target sites to initiate mobility by target DNA-primed reverse transcription. For aI2, sense-strand cleavage occurs mainly by a partial reverse splicing reaction, whereas for aI1, complete reverse splicing occurs, leading to insertion of the linear intron RNA into double-stranded DNA. Here, we show that aI1 homing and reverse splicing depend on the EBS1 (RNA)/IBS1(DNA) pairing and that target specificity can be changed by compensatory changes in the target site and the donor intron. Using well-marked strains to follow coconversion of flanking DNA, we show that homing occurs by both RT-dependent and -independent pathways. Remarkably, in most RT-dependent events, the reverse spliced intron is the initial template for first-strand cDNA synthesis.

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