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Ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) mediate key cellular functions such as gene expression and its regulation. Whereas most RNP enzymes are stable in composition and harbor preformed active sites, the spliceosome, which removes noncoding introns from precursor messenger RNAs (pre-mRNAs), follows fundamentally different strategies. In order to provide both accuracy to(More)
In eukaryotic cells, freshly synthesized messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) contains stretches of non-coding RNA that must be excised before the RNA can be translated into protein. Their removal is catalysed by the spliceosome, a large complex formed when a number of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs) bind sequentially to the pre-mRNA. The first snRNP(More)
In the assembly of a prespliceosome, U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) functions in pre-messenger RNA (mRNA) splicing together with splicing factors (SFs) 3a, SF3b, and several other proteins. The 17S but not the 12S form of U2 snRNP is active in splicing-complex formation. Here it is shown that the SF3a subunits correspond to three of the 17S U2(More)
We developed a method, named GraFix, that considerably improves sample quality for structure determination by single-particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM). GraFix uses a glycerol gradient centrifugation step in which the complexes are centrifuged into an increasing concentration of a chemical fixation reagent to prevent aggregation and to stabilize(More)
Exactly how specific splice sites are recognized during the processing of complex precursor messenger RNAs is not clear. Small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs) are involved, but are not sufficient by themselves to define splice sites. Now a human protein essential for splicing in vitro, called alternative splicing factor/splicing factor 2, is(More)
Formation of catalytically active RNA structures within the spliceosome requires the assistance of proteins. However, little is known about the number and nature of proteins needed to establish and maintain the spliceosome's active site. Here we affinity-purified human spliceosomal C complexes and show that they catalyse exon ligation in the absence of(More)
How splicing factors are recruited to nascent transcripts in the nucleus in order to assemble spliceosomes on newly synthesised pre-mRNAs is unknown. To address this question, we compared the intranuclear trafficking kinetics of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNP) and non-snRNP proteins in the presence and absence of splicing activity.(More)
Splicing of mammalian precursor transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules involves two enzymatic steps. First, intron removal by the tRNA splicing endonuclease generates separate 5' and 3' exons. In animals, the second step predominantly entails direct exon ligation by an elusive RNA ligase. Using activity-guided purification of tRNA ligase from HeLa cell extracts, we(More)
In metazoans, two distinct spliceosomes catalyzing pre-messenger RNA splicing have been identified. Here, the human U11/U12 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP), a subunit of the minor (U12-dependent) spliceosome, was isolated. Twenty U11/U12 proteins were identified, including subsets unique to the minor spliceosome or common to both spliceosomes.(More)
The conserved Prp19 (pre-RNA processing 19) complex is required for pre-mRNA splicing in eukaryotic nuclei. Recent RNAi screens indicated that knockdown of Prp19 complex subunits strongly delays cell proliferation. Here we show that knockdown of the smallest subunit, BCAS2/Spf27, destabilizes the entire complex and leads to specific mitotic defects in human(More)