The U11/U12 snRNP 65K protein acts as a molecular bridge, binding the U12 snRNA and U11-59K protein.EMBO J. 2005 Sep 07; 24(17):3057-69.EJ
U11 and U12 interact cooperatively with the 5' splice site and branch site of pre-mRNA as a stable preformed di-snRNP complex, thereby bridging the 5' and 3' ends of the intron within the U12-dependent prespliceosome. To identify proteins contributing to di-snRNP formation and intron bridging, we investigated protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions between components of the U11/U12 snRNP. We demonstrate that the U11/U12-65K protein possesses dual binding activity, interacting directly with U12 snRNA via its C-terminal RRM and the U11-associated 59K protein via its N-terminal half. We provide evidence that, in contrast to the previously published U12 snRNA secondary structure model, the 3' half of U12 forms an extended stem-loop with a highly conserved seven-nucleotide loop and that the latter serves as the 65K binding site. Addition of an oligonucleotide comprising the 65K binding site to an in vitro splicing reaction inhibited U12-dependent, but not U2-dependent, pre-mRNA splicing. Taken together, these data suggest that U11/U12-65K and U11-59K contribute to di-snRNP formation and intron bridging in the minor prespliceosome.