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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Upstream introns influence the efficiency of final intron removal and RNA 3'-end formation.

For all intron-containing pre-mRNAs of higher eukaryotes that have been examined using either living cells or cell-free extracts, a functional 3' splice site within the 3'-terminal intron is required for efficient RNA 3'-end formation. The mechanism by which intron sequences facilitate RNA 3'-end formation, which is achieved by endonucleolytic cleavage and polyadenylation, is not understood. We report here that in intact cells the efficiency of RNA 3'-end formation correlates with the efficiency of final intron removal, even when the intron is normally a 5'-terminal or internal intron. Therefore, the influence of the 3'-terminal intron on 3'-end formation is likely to be attributable to the determinants of splicing efficiency, which include but are not limited to the 3' splice site. Quantitative RNase mapping and methods that couple reverse transcription and the polymerase chain reaction were used to assess the consequence to RNA 3'-end formation of intron deletions within the human gene for triosephosphate isomerase ( TPI). Results indicate that the formation of TPI RNA 3' ends requires TPI gene introns in addition to the last intron, intron 6, to proceed efficiently. These additional TPI gene introns are also required for the efficient removal of intron 6. When introns 1 and 5 were engineered to be the final intron, they were found, as was intron 6, to function in RNA 3'-end formation with an efficiency that correlated with their efficiency of removal. The simultaneous deletion of the 5' and 3' splice sites of intron 6 reduced the efficiencies of both RNA 3'-end formation and the removal of intron 5, which constituted the 3'-most functional intron. Deletion of only the 3' splice site of intron 6 precluded RNA 3'-end formation but had no effect on the efficiency of intron 5 removal. Deletion of only the 5' splice site of intron 6, which resulted in exon 6 skipping (i.e., the removal of intron 5, exon 6, and intron 6 as a single unit), had no effect on the efficiencies of either RNA 3'-end formation or the removal of intron 5-exon 6-intron 6. These results indicate that sequences within the 3'-terminal intron are functionally coupled to both RNA 3'-end formation and removal of the penultimate intron via a network of interactions that form across the last two exons and, most likely, between RNA processing factors.[1]


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