The "spliceosome": yeast pre-messenger RNA associates with a 40S complex in a splicing-dependent reaction

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Science  24 May 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4702, pp. 963-967
DOI: 10.1126/science.3890181


The in vitro splicing reactions of pre-messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) in a yeast extract were analyzed by glycerol gradient centrifugation. Labeled pre-mRNA appears in a 40S peak only if the pre-mRNA undergoes the first of the two partial splicing reactions. RNA analysis after extraction of glycerol gradient fractions shows that lariat-form intermediates, molecules that occur only in mRNA splicing, are found almost exclusively in this 40S complex. Another reaction intermediate, cut 5' exon RNA, can also be found concentrated in this complex. The complex is stable even in 400 mM KCl, although at this salt concentration, it sediments at 35S and is clearly distinguishable from 40S ribosomal subunits. This complex, termed a "spliceosome," is thought to contain components necessary for mRNA splicing; its existence can explain how separated exons on pre-mRNA are brought into contact.