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Mol Cell. 2002 Feb;9(2):439-46.

The divergent U12-type spliceosome is required for pre-mRNA splicing and is essential for development in Drosophila.

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Department of Cell Biology, Yale University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


A minor class of pre-mRNA introns whose excision requires a spliceosome containing U11, U12, U4atac/U6atac, and U5 snRNPs has been identified in plants, insects, and vertebrates. We have characterized single loci that specify the U6atac and U12 snRNAs of Drosophila melanogaster. P element-mediated disruptions of the U6atac and U12 genes cause lethality during the third instar larval and embryonic stages, respectively, and are rescued by U6atac and U12 transgenes. The P element disruption of U6atac results in excision defects of U12-type introns from several transcripts including an alternative U12-dependent spliced isoform of prospero, a homeodomain protein required for CNS development. Thus, we demonstrate the requirement for the U12 spliceosome in the development of a metazoan organism.

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