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Genes Dev. 2011 Aug 1;25(15):1601-12. doi: 10.1101/gad.635911. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Mechanism for Aar2p function as a U5 snRNP assembly factor.

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Fachbereich Biologie/Chemie/Pharmazie, Abteilung Strukturbiochemie, Freie Universität Berlin, D-14195 Berlin, Germany;


Little is known about how particle-specific proteins are assembled on spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). Brr2p is a U5 snRNP-specific RNA helicase required for spliceosome catalytic activation and disassembly. In yeast, the Aar2 protein is part of a cytoplasmic precursor U5 snRNP that lacks Brr2p and is replaced by Brr2p in the nucleus. Here we show that Aar2p and Brr2p bind to different domains in the C-terminal region of Prp8p; Aar2p interacts with the RNaseH domain, whereas Brr2p interacts with the Jab1/MPN domain. These domains are connected by a long, flexible linker, but the Aar2p-RNaseH complex sequesters the Jab1/MPN domain, thereby preventing binding by Brr2p. Aar2p is phosphorylated in vivo, and a phospho-mimetic S253E mutation in Aar2p leads to disruption of the Aar2p-Prp8p complex in favor of the Brr2p-Prp8p complex. We propose a model in which Aar2p acts as a phosphorylation-controlled U5 snRNP assembly factor that regulates the incorporation of the particle-specific Brr2p. The purpose of this regulation may be to safeguard against nonspecific RNA binding to Prp8p and/or premature activation of Brr2p activity.

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