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Copyright © 2007 RNA Society

Abstract or Description

The highly conserved internal stem-loop (ISL) of U6 spliceosomal RNA is unwound for U4/U6 complex formation during spliceosome assembly and reformed upon U4 release during spliceosome activation. The U6 ISL is structurally similar to Domain 5 of group II self-splicing introns, and contains a dynamic bulge that coordinates a Mg++ ion essential for the first catalytic step of splicing. We have analyzed the causes of growth defects resulting from mutations in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae U6 ISL-bulged nucleotide U80 and the adjacent C67-A79 base pair. Intragenic suppressors and enhancers of the cold-sensitive A79G mutation, which replaces the C-A pair with a C-G pair, suggest that it stabilizes the ISL, inhibits U4/U6 assembly, and may also disrupt spliceosome activation. The lethality of mutations C67A and C67G results from disruption of base-pairing potential between U4 and U6, as these mutations are fully suppressed by compensatory mutations in U4 RNA. Strikingly, suppressor analysis shows that the lethality of the U80G mutation is due not only to formation of a stable base pair with C67, as previously proposed, but also another defect. A U6-U80G strain in which mispairing with position 67 is prevented grows poorly and assembles aberrant spliceosomes that retain U1 snRNP and fail to fully unwind the U4/U6 complex at elevated temperatures. Our data suggest that the U6 ISL bulge is important for coupling U1 snRNP release with U4/U6 unwinding during spliceosome activation.



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Published In

RNA, 13, 12, 2252-2265.