Almost all primary transcripts in higher eukaryotes undergo several splicing events and alternative splicing is a major factor in generating proteomic diversity. Thus, the spliceosome, the ribonucleoprotein assembly that performs splicing, is a highly critical cellular machine and as expected, a very complex one. Indeed, the spliceosome is one of the largest, if not the largest, molecular machine in the cell with over 150 different components in human. A large fraction of the spliceosomal proteome is organized into ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs) by associating with one of the small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), and the function of many spliceosomal proteins revolve around their association or interaction with the spliceosomal RNAs or the substrate pre-messenger RNAs. In addition to the complex web of protein-RNA interactions, an equally complex network of protein-protein interactions exists in the spliceosome which includes a number of large, conserved proteins with critical functions in the spliceosomal catalytic core. These include the largest conserved nuclear protein, Prp8, which plays a critical role in spliceosomal function in a hitherto unknown manner. Taken together, the large spliceosomal proteome and its dynamic nature has made it a highly challenging system to study, and at the same time, provides an exciting example of the evolution of a proteome around a backbone of primordial RNAs likely dating from the RNA World.
Proteome; Prp8; RNA helicases; Spliceosome; Splicing
The spliceosome is the huge macromolecular assembly responsible for the removal of introns from pre-mRNA transcripts. The size and complexity of this dynamic cellular machine dictates that structural analysis of the spliceosome is best served by a combination of techniques. Electron microscopy is providing a more global, albeit less detailed, view of spliceosome assemblies. X-ray crystallographers and NMR spectroscopists are steadily reporting more atomic resolution structures of individual spliceosome components and fragments. Increasingly, structures of these individual pieces in complex with binding partners are yielding insights into the interfaces that hold the entire spliceosome assembly together. Although the information arising from the various structural studies of splicing machinery has not yet fully converged into a complete model, we can expect that a detailed understanding of spliceosome structure will arise at the juncture of structural and computational modeling methods.
Proteins PRPF31, PRPF3 and PRPF8 (RP-PRPFs) are ubiquitously expressed components of the spliceosome, a macromolecular complex that processes nearly all pre-mRNAs. Although these spliceosomal proteins are conserved in eukaryotes and are essential for survival, heterozygous mutations in human RP-PRPF genes lead to retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease restricted to the eye. Using cells from patients with 10 different mutations, we show that all clinically relevant RP-PRPF defects affect the stoichiometry of spliceosomal small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), the protein composition of tri-small nuclear ribonucleoproteins and the kinetics of spliceosome assembly. These mutations cause inefficient splicing in vitro and affect constitutive splicing ex-vivo by impairing the removal of at least 9% of endogenously expressed introns. Alternative splicing choices are also affected when RP-PRPF defects are present. Furthermore, we show that the steady-state levels of snRNAs and processed pre-mRNAs are highest in the retina, indicating a particularly elevated splicing activity. Our results suggest a role for PRPFs defects in the etiology of PRPF-linked retinitis pigmentosa, which appears to be a truly systemic splicing disease. Although these mutations cause widespread and important splicing defects, they are likely tolerated by the majority of human tissues but are critical for retinal cell survival.
Splicing is an essential eukaryotic process in which introns are excised from precursors to messenger RNAs and exons ligated together. This reaction is catalyzed by a multi-MegaDalton machine called the spliceosome, composed of 5 small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and a core set of ~100 proteins minimally required for activity. Due to the spliceosome’s size, its low abundance in cellular extracts, and its highly dynamic assembly pathway, analysis of the kinetics of splicing and the conformational rearrangements occurring during spliceosome assembly and disassembly has proven extraordinarily challenging. Here, we review recent progress in combining chemical biology methodologies with single molecule fluorescence techniques to provide a window into splicing in real time. These methods complement ensemble measurements of splicing in vivo and in vitro to facilitate kinetic dissection of pre-mRNA splicing.
The removal of introns from pre-mRNA is carried out by a large macromolecular machine called the spliceosome. The peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase PPIL1 is a component of the human spliceosome and binds to the spliceosomal SKIP protein via a binding site distinct from its active site.
Here, we have studied the PPIL1 protein and its interaction with SKIP biochemically and by X-ray crystallography. A minimal linear binding epitope derived from the SKIP protein could be determined using a peptide array. A 36-residue region of SKIP centred on an eight-residue epitope suffices to bind PPIL1 in pull-down experiments. The crystal structure of PPIL1 in complex with the inhibitor cyclosporine A (CsA) was obtained at a resolution of 1.15 Å and exhibited two bound Cd2+ ions that enabled SAD phasing. PPIL1 residues that have previously been implicated in binding of SKIP are involved in the coordination of Cd2+ ions in the present crystal structure. Employing the present crystal structure, the determined minimal binding epitope and previously published NMR data , a molecular docking study was performed. In the docked model of the PPIL1·SKIP interaction, a proline residue of SKIP is buried in a hydrophobic pocket of PPIL1. This hydrophobic contact is encircled by several hydrogen bonds between the SKIP peptide and PPIL1.
We characterized a short, linear epitope of SKIP that is sufficient to bind the PPIL1 protein. Our data indicate that this SKIP peptide could function in recruiting PPIL1 into the core of the spliceosome. We present a molecular model for the binding mode of SKIP to PPIL1 which emphasizes the versatility of cyclophilin-type PPIases to engage in additional interactions with other proteins apart from active site contacts despite their limited surface area.
Most of eukaryotic genes are interrupted by introns that need to be removed from pre-mRNAs before they can perform their function. This is done by complex machinery called spliceosome. Many eukaryotes possess two separate spliceosomal systems that process separate sets of introns. The major (U2) spliceosome removes majority of introns, while minute fraction of intron repertoire is processed by the minor (U12) spliceosome. These two populations of introns are called U2-type and U12-type, respectively. The latter fall into two subtypes based on the terminal dinucleotides. The minor spliceosomal system has been lost independently in some lineages, while in some others few U12-type introns persist. We investigated twenty insect genomes in order to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of U12-type introns. Our work confirms dramatic drop of U12-type introns in Diptera, leaving these genomes just with a handful cases. This is mostly the result of intron deletion, but in a number of dipteral cases, minor type introns were switched to a major type, as well. Insect genes that harbor U12-type introns belong to several functional categories among which proteins binding ions and nucleic acids are enriched and these few categories are also overrepresented among these genes that preserved minor type introns in Diptera.
U12-type introns; minor spliceosome; insect evolution.
Splicing of the precursors of eukaryotic mRNA and some non-coding RNAs is catalyzed by the ‘spliceosome’, which comprises five RNA-protein complexes (small nuclear ribonucleoproteins, or snRNPs) that assemble in an ordered manner onto precursor-mRNAs. Much progress has been made in determining the gross morphology of spliceosomal assembly intermediates. Recently, the first crystal structure of a spliceosomal snRNP has provided significant insight into assembly and architecture of spliceosomal snRNPs in general and the structure-function relationship of human U1 snRNP in particular.
The spliceosome, a sophisticated molecular machine involved in the removal of intervening sequences from the coding sections of eukaryotic genes, appeared and subsequently evolved rapidly during the early stages of eukaryotic evolution. The last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) had both complex spliceosomal machinery and some spliceosomal introns, yet little is known about the early stages of evolution of the spliceosomal apparatus. The Sm/Lsm family of proteins has been suggested as one of the earliest components of the emerging spliceosome and hence provides a first in-depth glimpse into the evolving spliceosomal apparatus. An analysis of 335 Sm and Sm-like genes from 80 species across all three kingdoms of life reveals two significant observations. First, the eukaryotic Sm/Lsm family underwent two rapid waves of duplication with subsequent divergence resulting in 14 distinct genes. Each wave resulted in a more sophisticated spliceosome, reflecting a possible jump in the complexity of the evolving eukaryotic cell. Second, an unusually high degree of conservation in intron positions is observed within individual orthologous Sm/Lsm genes and between some of the Sm/Lsm paralogs. This suggests that functional spliceosomal introns existed before the emergence of the complete Sm/Lsm family of proteins; hence, spliceosomal machinery with considerably fewer components than today's spliceosome was already functional.
The spliceosome is a complex molecular machine that removes intervening sequences (introns) from mRNAs. It is unique to eukaryotes. Although prokaryotes have self-splicing introns, they completely lack spliceosomal introns and the spliceosome itself. Yet even the simplest eukaryotic organisms have introns and a rather complex spliceosomal apparatus. Little is known about how this amazing machine rapidly evolved in early eukaryotes. Here, we attempt to reconstruct a part of this evolutionary process using one of the most fundamental components of the spliceosome—the Sm and Lsm family of proteins. Using sequence and structure analysis as well as the analysis of the intron positions in Sm and Lsm genes in conjunction with a wealth of published data, we propose a plausible scenario for some aspects of spliceosomal evolution. In particular, we suggest that the Lsm family of genes could have been the first and the most essential component that allowed rudimentary splicing of early spliceosomal introns. Extensive duplications of Lsm genes and the later rise of the Sm gene family likely reflect a gradual increase in complexity of the spliceosome.
The spliceosome is the extremely complex macromolecular machine responsible for pre-mRNA splicing. It assembles from five U-rich small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and over 200 proteins in a highly dynamic fashion. One important challenge to studying the spliceosome is simply keeping track of all these proteins, a situation further complicated by the variety of names and identifiers that exist in the literature for them. To facilitate studies of the spliceosome and its components, we created a database of spliceosome-associated proteins and snRNAs, which is available at http://spliceosomedb.ucsc.edu and can be queried through a simple browser interface. In the database, we cataloged the various names, orthologs and gene identifiers of spliceosome proteins to navigate the complex nomenclature of spliceosome proteins. We also provide links to gene and protein records for the spliceosome components in other databases. To navigate spliceosome assembly dynamics, we created tools to compare the association of spliceosome proteins with complexes that form at specific stages of spliceosome assembly based on a compendium of mass spectrometry experiments that identified proteins in purified splicing complexes. Together, the information in the database provides an easy reference for spliceosome components and will support future modeling of spliceosome structure and dynamics.
RNA splicing is one of the fundamental processes in gene expression in eukaryotes. Splicing of pre-mRNA is catalysed by a large ribonucleoprotein complex called the spliceosome, which consists of five small nuclear RNAs and numerous protein factors. The spliceosome is a highly dynamic structure, assembled by sequential binding and release of the small nuclear RNAs and protein factors. DExD/H-box RNA helicases are required to mediate structural changes in the spliceosome at various steps in the assembly pathway and have also been implicated in the fidelity control of the splicing reaction. Other proteins also play key roles in mediating the progression of the spliceosome pathway. In this review, we discuss the functional roles of the protein factors involved in the spliceosome pathway primarily from studies in the yeast system.
protein splicing factor; RNA splicing; small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP); spliceosome; yeast; BBP, branchpoint-binding protein; CWC, complexed with Cef1; eIF4G, eukaryotic initiation factor 4G; NTC, NineTeen Complex; RRM, RNA-recognition motif; snRNA, small nuclear RNA; snRNP, small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle
With more than a hundred individual RNA and protein parts and a highly dynamic assembly and disassembly pathway, the spliceosome is arguably the most complicated macromolecular machine in the eukaryotic cell. This complexity has made kinetic and mechanistic analysis of splicing incredibly challenging. Yet recent technological advances are now providing tools for understanding this process in much greater detail. Ranging from genome-wide analyses of splicing and creation of an orthogonal spliceosome in vivo, to purification of active spliceosomes and observation of single molecules in vitro, such new experimental approaches are yielding significant insight into the inner workings of this remarkable machine. These experiments are rewriting the textbooks, with a new picture emerging of a dynamic, malleable machine heavily influenced by the identity of its pre-mRNA substrate.
The spliceosome is the complex macromolecular machine responsible for removing introns from precursors to mRNAs (pre-mRNAs). We combined yeast genetic engineering, chemical biology, and multi-wavelength fluoresence microscopy to follow assembly of single spliceosomes in real time in whole cell extracts. We find that individual spliceosomal subcomplexes associate with pre-mRNA sequentially via an ordered pathway to yield functional spliceosomes, and that association of every subcomplex is reversible. Further, early subcomplex binding events do not fully commit a pre-mRNA to splicing; rather commitment increases as assembly proceeds. These findings have important implications for the regulation of alternative splicing. This experimental strategy should prove widely useful for mechanistic analysis of other macromolecular machines in environments approaching the complexity of living cells.
Most eukaryotic mRNAs depend upon precise removal of introns by the spliceosome, a complex of RNAs and proteins. Splicing of pre-mRNA is known to take place in Dictyostelium discoideum, and we previously isolated the U2 spliceosomal RNA experimentally. In this study, we identified the remaining major spliceosomal RNAs in Dictyostelium by a bioinformatical approach. Expression was verified from 17 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes. All these genes are preceded by a putative noncoding RNA gene promoter. Immunoprecipitation showed that snRNAs U1, U2, U4, and U5, but not U6, carry the conserved trimethylated 5′ cap structure. A number of divergent U2 species are expressed in Dictyostelium. These RNAs carry the U2 RNA hallmark sequence and structure motifs but have an additional predicted stem-loop structure at the 5′ end. Surprisingly, and in contrast to the other spliceosomal RNAs in this study, the new U2 variants were enriched in the cytoplasm and were developmentally regulated. Furthermore, all of the snRNAs could also be detected as polyadenylated species, and polyadenylated U1 RNA was demonstrated to be located in the cytoplasm.
Correct interpretation of the coding capacity of RNA polymerase II transcribed eukaryotic genes is determined by the recognition and removal of intronic sequences of pre-mRNAs by the spliceosome. Our current knowledge on dynamic assembly and subunit interactions of the spliceosome mostly derived from the characterization of yeast, Drosophila, and human spliceosomal complexes formed on model pre-mRNA templates in cell extracts. In addition to sequential structural rearrangements catalyzed by ATP-dependent DExH/D-box RNA helicases, catalytic activation of the spliceosome is critically dependent on its association with the NineTeen Complex (NTC) named after its core E3 ubiquitin ligase subunit PRP19. NTC, isolated recently from Arabidopsis, occurs in a complex with the essential RNA helicase and GTPase subunits of the U5 small nuclear RNA particle that are required for both transesterification reactions of splicing. A compilation of mass spectrometry data available on the composition of NTC and spliceosome complexes purified from different organisms indicates that about half of their conserved homologs are encoded by duplicated genes in Arabidopsis. Thus, while mutations of single genes encoding essential spliceosome and NTC components lead to cell death in other organisms, differential regulation of some of their functionally redundant Arabidopsis homologs permits the isolation of partial loss of function mutations. Non-lethal pleiotropic defects of these mutations provide a unique means for studying the roles of NTC in co-transcriptional assembly of the spliceosome and its crosstalk with DNA repair and cell death signaling pathways.
spliceosome; NineTeen complex; co-transcriptional splicing; DNA repair; cell death signaling; Arabidopsis
The spliceosomal protein Prp1 (Prp6/U5-102 K) is necessary for the integrity of pre-catalytic spliceosomal complexes. We have identified a novel regulatory function for Prp1. Expression of mutations in the N-terminus of Prp1 leads to the accumulation of pre-catalytic spliceosomal complexes containing the five snRNAs U1, U2, U5 and U4/U6 and pre-mRNAs. The mutations in the N-terminus, which prevent splicing to occur, include in vitro and in vivo identified phosphorylation sites of Prp4 kinase. These sites are highly conserved in the human ortholog U5-102 K. The results presented here demonstrate that structural integrity of the N-terminus is required to mediate a splicing event, but is not necessary for the assembly of spliceosomes.
The splicing of pre-mRNAs is an essential step of gene expression in eukaryotes. Introns are removed from split genes through the activities of the spliceosome, a large ribonuclear machine that is conserved throughout the eukaryotic lineage. While unicellular eukaryotes are characterized by less complex splicing, pre-mRNA splicing of multicellular organisms is often associated with extensive alternative splicing that significantly enriches their proteome. The alternative selection of splice sites and exons permits multicellular organisms to modulate gene expression patterns in a cell type specific fashion, thus contributing to their functional diversification. Alternative splicing is a regulated process that is mainly influenced by the activities of splicing regulators, such as SR proteins or hnRNPs. These modular factors have evolved from a common ancestor through gene duplication events to a diverse group of splicing regulators that mediate exon recognition through their sequence specific binding to pre-mRNAs. Given the strong correlations between intron expansion, the complexity of pre-mRNA splicing, and the emergence of splicing regulators, it is argued that the increased presence of SR and hnRNP proteins promoted the evolution of alternative splicing through relaxation of the sequence requirements of splice junctions.
Pre-mRNA splicing; Spliceosome; alternative splicing; splicing regulation; SR protein; hnRNP protein; evolution; intron expansion; gene duplication; multicellular eukaryote; unicellular eukaryote; exon recognition; splice site
RNAs processing other RNAs is very general in eukaryotes, but is not clear to what extent it is ancestral to eukaryotes. Here we focus on pre-mRNA splicing, one of the most important RNA-processing mechanisms in eukaryotes. In most eukaryotes splicing is predominantly catalysed by the major spliceosome complex, which consists of five uridine-rich small nuclear RNAs (U-snRNAs) and over 200 proteins in humans. Three major spliceosomal introns have been found experimentally in Giardia; one Giardia U-snRNA (U5) and a number of spliceosomal proteins have also been identified. However, because of the low sequence similarity between the Giardia ncRNAs and those of other eukaryotes, the other U-snRNAs of Giardia had not been found. Using two computational methods, candidates for Giardia U1, U2, U4 and U6 snRNAs were identified in this study and shown by RT-PCR to be expressed. We found that identifying a U2 candidate helped identify U6 and U4 based on interactions between them. Secondary structural modelling of the Giardia U-snRNA candidates revealed typical features of eukaryotic U-snRNAs. We demonstrate a successful approach to combine computational and experimental methods to identify expected ncRNAs in a highly divergent protist genome. Our findings reinforce the conclusion that spliceosomal small-nuclear RNAs existed in the last common ancestor of eukaryotes.
Pre-mRNA splicing is performed by the spliceosome. SR proteins in this macromolecular complex are essential for both constitutive and alternative splicing. By using the SR-related protein ZNF265 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen, we pulled out the uncharacterized human protein XE7, which is encoded by a pseudoautosomal gene. XE7 had been identified in a large-scale proteomic analysis of the human spliceosome. It consists of two different isoforms produced by alternative splicing. The arginine/serine (RS)-rich region in the larger of these suggests a role in mRNA processing. Herein we show for the first time that XE7 is an alternative splicing regulator. XE7 interacts with ZNF265, as well as with the essential SR protein ASF/SF2. The RS-rich region of XE7 dictates both interactions. We show that XE7 localizes in the nucleus of human cells, where it colocalizes with both ZNF265 and ASF/SF2, as well as with other SR proteins, in speckles. We also demonstrate that XE7 influences alternative splice site selection of pre-mRNAs from CD44, Tra2-β1 and SRp20 minigenes. We have thus shown that the spliceosomal component XE7 resembles an SR-related splicing protein, and can influence alternative splicing.
The spliceosome is a dynamic macromolecular machine that assembles on pre-mRNA substrates and catalyses the excision of non-coding intervening sequences (introns)1-3. Four of the five major components of the spliceosome, U1, U2, U4 and U5 snRNPs, contain seven Sm proteins (SmB/B’, SmD1, SmD2, SmD3, SmE, SmF and SmG) in common4,5. Following export of the U1, U2, U4 and U5 snRNAs to the cytoplasm6,7, the seven Sm proteins chaperoned by the survival of motor neurons (SMN) complex assemble around a single-stranded, U-rich sequence called the Sm site in each snRNA, to form the core domain of the respective snRNP particle8,9. Core domain formation is a prerequisite for re-import into the nucleus10, where these snRNPs mature via addition of their particle-specific proteins. Here we present a crystal structure of the U4 snRNP core domain at 3.6 Å resolution, detailing how the Sm site heptad (AUUUUUG) binds inside the central hole of the heptameric ring of Sm proteins, interacting one-to-one with SmE-SmG-SmD3-SmB-SmD1-SmD2-SmF. An irregular backbone conformation of the Sm site sequence combined with the asymmetric structure of the heteromeric protein ring allows each base to interact in a distinct manner with four key residues at equivalent positions in the L3 and L5 loops of the Sm fold. A comparison of this structure with the U1 snRNP at 5.5 Å resolution11,12 reveals snRNA-dependent structural changes outside the Sm fold, which may facilitate the binding of particle-specific proteins that is crucial to biogenesis of spliceosomal snRNPs.
Comprehensive proteomics analyses of spliceosomal complexes are currently limited to those in humans, and thus, it is unclear to what extent the spliceosome's highly complex composition and compositional dynamics are conserved among metazoans. Here we affinity purified Drosophila melanogaster spliceosomal B and C complexes formed in Kc cell nuclear extract. Mass spectrometry revealed that their composition is highly similar to that of human B and C complexes. Nonetheless, a number of Drosophila-specific proteins were identified, suggesting that there may be novel factors contributing specifically to splicing in flies. Protein recruitment and release events during the B-to-C transition were also very similar in both organisms. Electron microscopy of Drosophila B complexes revealed a high degree of structural similarity with human B complexes, indicating that higher-order interactions are also largely conserved. A comparison of Drosophila spliceosomes formed on a short versus long intron revealed only small differences in protein composition but, nonetheless, clear structural differences under the electron microscope. Finally, the characterization of affinity-purified Drosophila mRNPs indicated that exon junction complex proteins are recruited in a splicing-dependent manner during C complex formation. These studies provide insights into the evolutionarily conserved composition and structure of the metazoan spliceosome, as well as its compositional dynamics during catalytic activation.
The polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) binds pre-mRNAs to alter splice site choice. We characterized a series of spliceosomal complexes that assemble on a pre-mRNA under conditions of either PTB mediated splicing repression or its absence. In the absence of repression, exon-definition complexes assembled downstream of the regulated exon were able to progress to pre-spliceosomal A complexes and functional spliceosomes. Under PTB mediated repression, assembly was arrested at an A-like complex unable to transition to spliceosomal complexes. Trans-splicing experiments indicated that even when the U1 and U2 snRNPs are bound properly to the upstream and downstream exons, the presence of PTB prevents the interaction of the two exon complexes. Proteomic analyses of these complexes provide a new description of exon definition complexes, and indicate that splicing regulators can act on the transition between the exon definition complex and an intron-defined spliceosome.
In eukaryotes splicing of pre-mRNAs is mediated by the spliceosome, a dynamic complex of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs) that associate transiently during spliceosome assembly and the splicing reaction. We have purified snRNPs from nuclear extracts of Drosophila cells by affinity chromatography with an antibody specific for the trimethylguanosine (m3G) cap structure of snRNAs U1-U5. The polypeptide components of Drosophila snRNPs have been characterized and shown to consist of a number of proteins shared by all the snRNPs, and some proteins which appear to be specific to individual snRNP particles. On the basis of their apparent molecular weight and antigenicity many of these common and particle specific Drosophila snRNP proteins are remarkably conserved between Drosophila and human spliceosomes. By probing western blots of the Drosophila snRNP polypeptides with a number of antisera raised against human snRNP proteins, Drosophila polypeptides equivalent to many of the HeLa snRNP-common proteins have been identified, as well as candidates for a number of U1, U2 and U5-specific proteins.
Appropriate expression of most eukaryotic genes requires the removal of introns from their pre–messenger RNAs (pre-mRNAs), a process catalyzed by the spliceosome. In higher eukaryotes a large family of auxiliary factors known as SR proteins can improve the splicing efficiency of transcripts containing suboptimal splice sites by interacting with distinct sequences present in those pre-mRNAs. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae lacks functional equivalents of most of these factors; thus, it has been unclear whether the spliceosome could effectively distinguish among transcripts. To address this question, we have used a microarray-based approach to examine the effects of mutations in 18 highly conserved core components of the spliceosomal machinery. The kinetic profiles reveal clear differences in the splicing defects of particular pre-mRNA substrates. Most notably, the behaviors of ribosomal protein gene transcripts are generally distinct from other intron-containing transcripts in response to several spliceosomal mutations. However, dramatically different behaviors can be seen for some pairs of transcripts encoding ribosomal protein gene paralogs, suggesting that the spliceosome can readily distinguish between otherwise highly similar pre-mRNAs. The ability of the spliceosome to distinguish among its different substrates may therefore offer an important opportunity for yeast to regulate gene expression in a transcript-dependent fashion. Given the high level of conservation of core spliceosomal components across eukaryotes, we expect that these results will significantly impact our understanding of how regulated splicing is controlled in higher eukaryotes as well.
The spliceosome is a large RNA-protein machine responsible for removing the noncoding (intron) sequences that interrupt eukaryotic genes. Nearly everything known about the behavior of this machine has been based on the analysis of only a handful of genes, despite the fact that individual introns vary greatly in both size and sequence. Here we have utilized a microarray-based platform that allows us to simultaneously examine the behavior of all intron-containing genes in the budding yeast S. cerevisiae. By systematically examining the effects of individual mutants in the spliceosome on the splicing of all substrates, we have uncovered a surprisingly complex relationship between the spliceosome and its full complement of substrates. Contrary to the idea that the spliceosome engages in “generic” interactions with all intron-containing substrates in the cell, our results show that the identity of the transcript can differentially affect splicing efficiency when the machine is subtly perturbed. We propose that the wild-type spliceosome can also distinguish among its many substrates as external conditions warrant to function as a specific regulator of gene expression.
Many eukaryotic gene transcripts are spliced; here the authors show that components of the splicing complex can distinguish between different introns in highly homologous transcripts.
Previous studies using the yeast two-hybrid assay (Y2H) have identified cyclin L1 (CCNL1) and Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 protein (EWSR1) as being interacting partners of tuftelin-interacting protein 11 (TFIP11). All three proteins are functionally related to the spliceosome and involved in pre-mRNA splicing activities. The spliceosome is a dynamic ribonucleoprotein complex responsible for pre-mRNA splicing of intronic regions, and is composed of five small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and μ140 proteins. TFIP11 appears to play a role in spliceosome disassembly allowing for the release of the bound lariat-intron. The roles of CCNL1 and EWSR1 in the spliceosome are poorly understood. Using fluorescently-tagged proteins and confocal microscopy we show that TFIP11, CCNL1 and EWSR1 frequently co-localize to speckled nuclear domains. These data would suggest that all three proteins participate in a common cellular activity related to RNA splicing events.
Cyclin L1; Ewing’s sarcoma protein; nuclear speckles; pre-mRNA splicing; spliceosomal component 35; spliceosome; tuftelin-interacting protein 11
Previous studies using the yeast two-hybrid assay (Y2H) have identified cyclin L1 (CCNL1) and Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 protein (EWSR1) as being interacting partners of tuftelin-interacting protein 11 (TFIP11). All three proteins are functionally related to the spliceosome and involved in pre-mRNA splicing activities. The spliceosome is a dynamic ribonucleoprotein complex responsible for pre-mRNA splicing of intronic regions, and is composed of five small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and ∼140 proteins. TFIP11 appears to play a role in spliceosome disassembly allowing for the release of the bound lariat-intron. The roles of CCNL1 and EWSR1 in the spliceosome are poorly understood. Using fluorescently-tagged proteins and confocal microscopy we show that TFIP11, CCNL1 and EWSR1 frequently co-localize to speckled nuclear domains. These data would suggest that all three proteins participate in a common cellular activity related to RNA splicing events.
Cyclin L1; Ewing's sarcoma protein; nuclear speckles; pre-mRNA splicing; spliceosomal component 35; spliceosome; tuftelin-interacting protein 11