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Sequences Within The Last Intron Function In RNA 3'-end Formation In Cultured Cells.

D Nesic, J Cheng, L E Maquat

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In cultured cells, little if any mRNA accumulates from an intronless version of the human gene for triosephosphate isomerase (TPI), a gene that normally contains six introns. By deleting introns either individually or in combinations, it was demonstrated by Northern (RNA) blot hybridization that while the deletion of a greater number of introns generally results in a lower level of product mRNA, not all introns contribute equally to mRNA formation. For example, intron 1 appeared to be dispensable, at least when the remaining introns are present, but deletion of the last intron, intron 6, reduced the level of product mRNA to 51% of normal. To determine how intron 6 contributes to mRNA formation, partial deletions of intron 6 were constructed and analyzed. Deletion of the lariat and acceptor splice sites or the donor, lariat, and acceptor splice sites, each of which precluded removal of the intron 6 sequences that remained, reduced the level of product mRNA to < 1 or 27% of normal, respectively. As measured by RNase mapping and cDNA sequencing, the decrease in mRNA abundance that was attributable to the complete and partial intron 6 deletions was accompanied by an increase in the abundance of pre-mRNA that lacked a mature 3' end, i.e., that was neither cleaved nor polyadenylated. We infer from these and other data that sequences within the final intron facilitate proper 3'-end formation, possibly through an association with the components of a productive spliceosome.