Base pairing between U2 and U6 snRNAs is necessary for splicing of a mammalian pre-mRNA.Nature. 1991 Aug 29; 352(6338):818-21.Nat
Splicing of pre-messenger RNA in eukaryotic cells occurs in a multicomponent complex termed the spliceosome, which contains small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs), protein factors and substrate pre-mRNA. Assembly of the spliceosome involves the stepwise binding of snRNPs and protein factors to the pre-mRNA through a poorly understood mechanism which probably involves specific RNA-RNA, RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions. Of particular interest are the interactions between snRNPs, which are likely to be important not only for assembly of the spliceosome but also for catalysis. U1 snRNP interacts with the 5' splice site and U2 snRNP with the branch site of the pre-mRNA; both of these interactions involve Watson-Crick base pairing. But very little is known about how other factors such as the U4/U6 and U5 snRNPs reach the spliceosome and function in splicing. Here we report evidence that U6 snRNA interacts directly with U2 snRNA by a mechanism involving base-pairing, and that this interaction can be necessary for splicing of a mammalian pre-mRNA in vivo.