3' end processing of mouse histone pre-mRNA: evidence for additional base-pairing between U7 snRNA and pre-mRNA
Spycher, C.; Streit, A.; Stefanovic, B.; Albrecht, D.; Koning, T.H.; Schümperli, D.
Nucleic Acids Research 22(20): 4023-4030
ISSN/ISBN: 0305-1048 PMID: 7937126 DOI: 10.1093/nar/22.20.4023
We have analysed the extent of base-pairing interactions between spacer sequences of histone pre-mRNA and U7 snRNA present in the trans-acting U7 snRNP and their importance for histone RNA 3' end processing in vitro. For the efficiently processed mouse H4-12 gene, a computer analysis revealed that additional base pairs could be formed with U7 RNA outside of the previously recognised spacer element (stem II). One complementarity (stem III) is located more 3' and involves nucleotides from the very 5' end of U7 RNA. The other, more 5' located complementarity (stem I) involves nucleotides of the Sm binding site of U7 RNA, a part known to interact with snRNP structural proteins. These potential stem structures are separated from each other by short internal loops of unpaired nucleotides. Mutational analyses of the pre-mRNA indicate that stems II and III are equally important for interaction with the U7 snRNP and for processing, whereas mutations in stem I have moderate effects on processing efficiency, but do not impair complex formation with the U7 snRNP. Thus nucleotides near the processing site may be important for processing, but do not contribute to the assembly of an active complex by forming a stem I structure. The importance of stem III was confirmed by the ability of a complementary mutation in U7 RNA to suppress a stem III mutation in a complementation assay using Xenopus laevis oocytes. The main role of the factor(s) binding to the upstream hairpin loop is to stabilise the U7-pre-mRNA complex. This was shown by either stabilising (by mutation) or destabilising (by increased temperature) the U7-pre-mRNA base-pairing under conditions where hairpin factor binding was either allowed or prevented (by mutation or competition). The hairpin dependence of processing was found to be inversely related to the strength of the U7-pre-mRNA interaction.