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Length changes in the joining segment between domains 5 and 6 of a group II intron inhibit self-splicing and alter 3' splice site selection.

By S C Boulanger, P H Faix, H Yang, J Zhuo, J S Franzen, C L Peebles and P S Perlman


Domain 5 (D5) and domain 6 (D6) are adjacent folded hairpin substructures of self-splicing group II introns that appear to interact within the active ribozyme. Here we describe the effects of changing the length of the 3-nucleotide segment joining D5 to D6 [called J(56)3] on the splicing reactions of intron 5 gamma of the COXI gene of yeast mitochondrial DNA. Shortened variants J(56)0 and J(56)1 were defective in vitro for branching, and the second splicing step was performed inefficiently and inaccurately. The lengthened variant J(56)5 had a milder defect-splicing occurred at a reduced rate but with correct branching and a mostly accurate 3' splice junction choice. Yeast mitochondria were transformed with the J(56)5 allele, and the resulting yeast strain was respiration deficient because of ineffective aI5 gamma splicing. Respiration-competent revertants were recovered, and in one type a single joiner nucleotide was deleted while in the other type a nucleotide of D6 was deleted. Although these revertants still showed partial splicing blocks in vivo and in vitro, including a substantial defect in the second step of splicing, both spliced accurately in vivo. These results establish that a 3-nucleotide J(56) is optimal for this intron, especially for the accuracy of 3' splice junction selection, and indicate that D5 and D6 are probably not coaxially stacked

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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