Recognition of U1 and U2 small nuclear RNAs can be altered by a 5-amino-acid segment in the U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) B" protein and through interactions with U2 snRNP-A' protein.
We have investigated the sequence elements influencing RNA recognition in two closely related small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) proteins, U1 snRNP-A and U2 snRNP-B". A 5-amino-acid segment in the RNA-binding domain of the U2 snRNP-B" protein was found to confer U2 RNA recognition when substituted into the corresponding position in the U1 snRNP-A protein. In addition, B", but not A, was found to require the U2 snRNP-A' protein as an accessory factor for high-affinity binding to U2 RNA. The pentamer segment in B" that conferred U2 RNA recognition was not sufficient to allow the A' enhancement of U2 RNA binding by B", thus implicating other sequences in this protein-protein interaction. Sequence elements involved in these interactions have been localized to variable loops of the RNA-binding domain as determined by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (D. Hoffman, C.C. Query, B. Golden, S.W. White, and J.D. Keene, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, in press). These findings suggest a role for accessory proteins in the formation of RNP complexes and pinpoint amino acid sequences that affect the specificity of RNA recognition in two members of a large family of proteins involved in RNA processing.
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