Small nuclear RNA U2 is base-paired to heterogeneous nuclear RNA

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Science  30 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4558, pp. 456-458
DOI: 10.1126/science.6178162


Eukaryotic cells contain a set of low molecular weight nuclear RNA's. One of the more abundant of these is termed U2 RNA. The possibility that U2 RNA is hydrogen-bonded to complementary sequences in other nuclear RNA's was investigated. Cultured human (HeLa) cells were treated with a psoralen derivative that cross-links RNA chains that are base-paired with one another. High molecular weight heterogeneous nuclear RNA was isolated under denaturing conditions, and the psoralen cross-links were reversed. Electrophoresis of the released RNA and hybridization with a human cloned U2 DNA probe revealed that U2 is hydrogen-bonded to complementary sequences in heterogeneous nuclear RNA in vivo. In contrast, U2 RNA is not base-paired with nucleolar RNA, which contains the precursors of ribosomal RNA. The results suggest that U2 RNA participates in messenger RNA processing in the nucleus.