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Splicing of the precursor messenger RNA, involving intron removal and exon ligation, is mediated by the spliceosome. Together with biochemical and genetic investigations of the past four decades, structural studies of the intact spliceosome at atomic resolution since 2015 have led to mechanistic delineation of RNA splicing with remarkable insights. The spliceosome is proven to be a protein-orchestrated metalloribozyme. Conserved elements of small nuclear RNA (snRNA) constitute the splicing active site with two catalytic metal ions and recognize three conserved intron elements through duplex formation, which are delivered into the splicing active site for branching and exon ligation. The protein components of the spliceosome stabilize the conformation of the snRNA, drive spliceosome remodeling, orchestrate the movement of the RNA elements, and facilitate the splicing reaction. The overall organization of the spliceosome and the configuration of the splicing active site are strictly conserved between human and yeast.


Ruixue Wan, Rui Bai, Xiechao Zhan, Yigong Shi. How Is Precursor Messenger RNA Spliced by the Spliceosome? Annual review of biochemistry. 2020 Jun 20;89:333-358

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PMID: 31815536

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