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

The human U4/U6 snRNP contains 60 and 90kD proteins that are structurally homologous to the yeast splicing factors Prp4p and Prp3p.

Immunoaffinity-purified human 25S [U4/U6.U5] tri-snRNPs harbor a set of polypeptides, termed the tri-snRNP proteins, that are not present in Mono Q-purified 20S U5 snRNPs or 10S U4/U6 snRNPs and that are important for tri-snRNP complex formation (Behrens SE, Lührmann R, 1991, Genes & Dev 5:1439-1452). Biochemical and immunological characterization of HeLa [U4/U6.U5] tri-snRNPs led to the identification of two novel proteins with molecular weights of 61 and 63kD that are distinct from the previously described 15.5, 20, 27, 60, and 90kD tri-snRNP proteins. For the initial characterization of tri-snRNP proteins that interact directly with U4/U6 snRNPs, immunoaffinity chromatography with an antibody directed against the 60kD protein was performed. We demonstrate that the 60 and 90kD tri-snRNP proteins specifically associate with the U4/U6 snRNP at salt concentrations where the tri-snRNP complex has dissociated. The primary structures of the 60kD and 90kD proteins were determined by cloning and sequencing their respective cDNAs. The U4/U6-60kD protein possesses a C-terminal WD domain that contains seven WD repeats and thus belongs to the WD-protein family, whose best-characterized members include the Gbeta subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins. A database homology search revealed a significant degree of overall homology (57.8% similarity, 33.9% identity) between the human 60kD protein and the Saccharomyces cerevisiae U4/U6 snRNP protein Prp4p. Two additional, previously undetected WD repeats (with seven in total) were also identified in Prp4p, consistent with the possibility that 60kD/Prp4p, like beta-transducin, may adopt a propeller-like structure. The U4/U6-90kD protein was shown to exhibit significant homology, particularly in its C-terminal half, with the S. cerevisiae splicing factor Prp3p, which also associates with the yeast U4/U6 snRNP. Interestingly, U4/U6-90kD shares short regions of homology with E. coli RNase III, including a region encompassing its double-stranded RNA binding domain. Based on their structural similarity with essential splicing factors in yeast, the human U4/U6-60kD and 90kD proteins are likely also to play important roles in the mammalian splicing process.[1]


  1. The human U4/U6 snRNP contains 60 and 90kD proteins that are structurally homologous to the yeast splicing factors Prp4p and Prp3p. Lauber, J., Plessel, G., Prehn, S., Will, C.L., Fabrizio, P., Gröning, K., Lane, W.S., Lührmann, R. RNA (1997) [Pubmed]
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