Suppressors of cis-acting splicing-deficient mutations that affect the ribozyme core of a group II intron.J Mol Biol. 1997 Apr 04; 267(3):537-47.JM
Many of the cis-dominant mutations that lead to respiratory deficiency by preventing maturation of specific yeast mitochondrial transcripts are found to affect the ribozyme core of group I and group II introns. We have searched for suppressors of mutations in the ribozyme-encoding sections of a group II intron, the first intron in the COX1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which was independently subjected to in vitro site-directed mutagenesis. Three of the original mutants bore multiple mutations, which act synergistically, since for most individual mutations, suppressors could be obtained that ensured at least partial recovery of respiratory competence and splicing. Out of a total of ten suppressor mutations that were identified, three were second-site substitutions that restored postulated base-pairings in the ribozyme core. Remarkably, and as is observed for group I introns, at least half of the cis-dominant mutations in the first two group II introns of the COX1 gene affect sites that have been shown to participate in RNA tertiary interactions. We propose that this bias reflects cooperativity in the formation of ribozyme tertiary but not secondary structure, on the one hand, and the need for synergistic effects in order to generate a respiratory-deficient phenotype in the laboratory on the other. Finally, a novel in vivo splicing product of mutant cells is attributed to bimolecular splicing at high concentrations of defective transcripts.