Transient interaction of BBP/ScSF1 and Mud2 with the splicing machinery affects the kinetics of spliceosome assembly

a1 European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse. 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany


Removal of introns from pre-mRNA is an essential step of gene expression. The splicing reaction is catalyzed in a large complex termed the spliceosome. Introns are recognized during the early steps of spliceosome assembly with the formation of commitment complexes. Intron recognition is mediated by the interaction of splicing factors with conserved sequences present in the pre-mRNA. BBP/SF1 participates in this recognition by interacting with the pre-mRNA branch point in both yeast and mammals. This protein, which is essential in yeast, also interacts with the U2AF65/Mud2 splicing factor. However, its precise role in splicing complex formation is still unclear. We have now analyzed the presence of BBP and Mud2 in yeast splicing complexes using supershift and coprecipitation assays. We found that BBP is present together with Mud2 in commitment complex 2 (CC2), but is not detectable in commitment complex 1 (CC1). Furthermore, genetic and biochemical depletion of BBP demonstrated that it is required for CC2 formation. In addition we observed that BBP and Mud2 are not detectable in pre-spliceosomes. These are the first commitment complex components that are shown to be released during or immediately after pre-spliceosome formation. Interestingly, depletion of BBP or disruption of MUD2 had no significant effect on pre-spliceosome formation and splicing in vitro but led to a transient accumulation of CC1. These observations support a model in which BBP and Mud2 are recycled during transition from CC2 to pre-spliceosome.

(Received December 12 1998)
(Revised January 26 1999)
(Accepted March 26 1999)

Key Words: branch point recognition; commitment complex; pre-mRNA splicing; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; SF1; snRNP; U2AF65.

c1 Reprint requests to: Bertrand Séraphin, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse. 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany; e-mail: Seraphin@EMBL-Heidelberg.de.