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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jun;13(6):3135-45.

Uncoupling two functions of the U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle during in vitro splicing.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536-0812.


To probe functions of the U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) during in vitro splicing, we have used unusual splicing substrates which replace the 5' splice site region of an adenovirus substrate with spliced leader (SL) RNA sequences from Leptomonas collosoma or Caenorhabditis elegans. In agreement with previous results (J.P. Bruzik and J.A. Steitz, Cell 62:889-899, 1990), we find that oligonucleotide-targeted RNase H destruction of the 5' end of U1 snRNA inhibits the splicing of a standard adenovirus splicing substrate but not of the SL RNA-containing substrates. However, use of an antisense 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotide that disrupts the first stem of U1 snRNA as well as stably sequestering positions of U1 snRNA involved in 5' and 3' splice site recognition inhibits the splicing of both the SL constructs and the standard adenovirus substrate. The 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotide is no more effective than RNase H pretreatment in preventing pairing of U1 with the 5' splice site, as assessed by inhibition of psoralen cross-link formation between the SL RNA-containing substrate and U1. The 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotide does not alter the protein composition of the U1 monoparticle or deplete the system of essential splicing factors. Native gel analysis indicates that the 2'-O-methyl oligoribonucleotide inhibits splicing by diminishing the formation of splicing complexes. One interpretation of these results is that removal of the 5' end of U1 inhibits base pairing in a different way than sequestering the same sequence with a complementary oligoribonucleotide. Alternatively, our data may indicate that two elements near the 5' end of U1 RNA normally act during spliceosome assembly; the extreme 5' end base pairs with the 5' splice site, while the sequence or structural integrity of stem I is essential for some additional function. It follows that different introns may differ in their use of the repertoire of U1 snRNP functions.

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