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Mol Cell. 2007 Oct 26;28(2):240-52.

U2 snRNP binds intronless histone pre-mRNAs to facilitate U7-snRNP-dependent 3' end formation.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


In metazoa, pre-mRNA 3' end formation occurs via two pathways: cleavage/polyadenylation for the majority of RNA polymerase II transcripts and U7-snRNP-dependent cleavage for replication-dependent histone pre-mRNAs. An RNA element derived from a replication-dependent histone gene affects multiple steps of pre-mRNA processing. Here, we demonstrate that a portion of this RNA element, present in the majority of histone mRNAs, stimulates U7-snRNP-dependent cleavage. Surprisingly, this element binds U2 snRNP, although it is derived from an intronless mRNA. Specifically, SF3b, a U2 and U12-snRNP component, contacts the RNA element both in vitro and in vivo in conjunction with hPrp43, a DEAH-box helicase. Tethering either U2 or U12 snRNP to histone pre-mRNA substrates stimulates U7-snRNP-dependent cleavage in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we show that U2 snRNP associates with histone pre-mRNAs in vivo. We conclude that U2 snRNP plays a nonsplicing role in histone mRNA maturation.

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