A genetic screen was devised to identify Saccharomyces cerevisiae splicing factors that are important for the function of the 5' end of U2 snRNA. Six slt (stands for synthetic lethality with U2) mutants were isolated on the basis of synthetic lethality with a U2 snRNA mutation that perturbs the U2-U6 snRNA helix II interaction. SLT11 encodes a new splicing factor and SLT22 encodes a new RNA-dependent ATPase RNA helicase (D. Xu, S. Nouraini, D. Field, S. J. Tang, and J. D. Friesen, Nature 381:709-713, 1996). The remaining four slt mutations are new alleles of previously identified splicing genes: slt15, previously identified as prp17 (slt15/prp17-100), slt16/smd3-1, slt17/slu7-100, and slt21/prp8-21. slt11-1 and slt22-1 are synthetically lethal with mutations in the 3' end of U6 snRNA, a region that affects U2-U6 snRNA helix II; however, slt17/slu7-100 and slt21/prp8-21 are not. This difference suggests that the latter two factors are unlikely to be involved in interactions with U2-U6 snRNA helix II but rather are specific to interactions with U2 snRNA. Pairwise synthetic lethality was observed among slt11-1 (which affects the first step of splicing) and several second-step factors, including slt15/prp17-100, slt17/slu7-100, and prp16-1. Mutations in loop 1 of U5 snRNA, a region that is implicated in the alignment of the two exons, are synthetically lethal with slu4/prp17-2 and slu7-1 (D. Frank, B. Patterson, and C. Guthrie, Mol. Cell. Biol. 12:5179-5205, 1992), as well as with slt11-1, slt15/prp17-100, slt17/slu7-100, and slt21/prp8-21. These same U5 snRNA mutations also interact genetically with certain U2 snRNA mutations that lie in the helix I and helix II regions of the U2-U6 snRNA structure. Our results suggest interactions among U2 snRNA, U5 snRNA, and Slt protein factors that may be responsible for coupling and coordination of the two reactions of pre-mRNA splicing.
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Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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