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Different effects of intron nucleotide composition and secondary structure on pre-mRNA splicing in monocot and dicot plants



Different effects of intron nucleotide composition and secondary structure on pre-mRNA splicing in monocot and dicot plants



Embo Journal 10(9): 2635-2644



We have found previously that the sequences important for recognition of pre-mRNA introns in dicot plants differ from those in the introns of vertebrates and yeast. Neither a conserved branch point nor a polypyrimidine tract, found in yeast and vertebrate introns respectively, are required. Instead, AU-rich sequences, a characteristic feature of dicot plant introns, are essential. Here we show that splicing in protoplasts of maize, a monocot, differs significantly from splicing in a dicot, Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. As in the case of dicots, a conserved branch point and a polypyrimidine tract are not required for intron processing in maize. However, unlike in dicots, AU-rich sequences are not essential, although their presences facilitates splicing if the splice site sequences are not optimal. The lack of an absolute requirement for AU-rich stretches in monocot introns is reflected in the occurrence of GC-rich introns in monocots but not in dicots. We also show that maize protoplasts are able to process a mammalian intron and short introns containing stem-loops, neither of which are spliced in N. plumbaginifolia protoplasts. The ability of maize, but not of N. plumbaginifolia to process stem-loop-containing or GC-rich introns suggests that one of the functions of AU-rich sequences durin splicing of dicot plant pre-mRNAs may be to minimize secondary structure within the intron.

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Accession: 002072421

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PMID: 1868837


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