Oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis has been used to alter highly conserved sequences within the intervening sequence (IVS) of the Tetrahymena large ribosomal RNA precursor. Mutations within either sequence element 9L or element 2 eliminate splicing activity under standard in vitro splicing conditions. A double mutant with compensatory base changes in elements 9L and 2 has accurate splicing activity restored. Thus, the targeted nucleotides of elements 9L and 2 base-pair with one another in the IVS RNA, and pairing is important for self-splicing. Mutant splicing activities are restored by increased magnesium ion concentrations, supporting the conclusion that the role of the targeted bases in splicing is primarily structural. Based on the temperature dependence, we propose that a conformational switch involving pairing and unpairing of elements 9L and 2 is required for splicing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)