Research Articles

Affinity chromatography of splicing complexes: U2, U5, and U4 + U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles in the spliceosome

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Science  19 Sep 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4770, pp. 1294-1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.3638792


The splicing process, which removes intervening sequences from messenger RNA (mRNA) precursors is essential to gene expression in eukaryotic cells. This site-specific process requires precise sequence recognition at the boundaries of an intervening sequence, but the mechanism of this recognition is not understood. The splicing of mRNA precursors occurs in a multicomponent complex termed the spliceosome. Such an assembly of components is likely to play a key role in specifying those sequences to be spliced. In order to analyze spliceosome structure, a stringent approach was developed to obtain splicing complexes free of cellular contaminants. This approach is a form of affinity chromatography based on the high specificity of the biotin-streptavidin interaction. A minimum of three subunits: U2, U5, and U4 + U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles were identified in the 35S spliceosome structure, which also contains the bipartite RNA intermediate of splicing. A 25S presplicing complex contained only the U2 particle. The multiple subunit structure of the spliceosome has implications for the regulation of a splicing event and for its possible catalysis by ribozyme or ribozymes.

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