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Intron-containing genes have the ability to generate multiple transcript isoforms by splicing, thereby greatly expanding the eukaryotic transcriptome and proteome. In eukaryotic cells, precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) splicing is performed by a mega-macromolecular complex defined as a spliceosome. Among its splicing components, U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) is the smallest subcomplex involved in early spliceosome assembly and 5'-splice site recognition. Its central component, named U1-70K, has been extensively characterized in animals and yeast. Very few investigations on U1-70K genes have been conducted in plants, however. To this end, we performed a comprehensive study to systematically identify 115 U1-70K genes from 67 plant species, ranging from algae to angiosperms. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the expansion of the plant U1-70K gene family was likely to have been driven by whole-genome duplications. Subsequent comparisons of gene structures, protein domains, promoter regions and conserved splicing patterns indicated that plant U1-70Ks are likely to preserve their conserved molecular function across plant lineages and play an important functional role in response to environmental stresses. Furthermore, genetic analysis using T-DNA insertion mutants suggested that Arabidopsis U1-70K may be involved in response to osmotic stress. Our results provide a general overview of this gene family in Viridiplantae and will act as a reference source for future mechanistic studies on this U1 snRNP-specific splicing factor. © 2020 Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Mo-Xian Chen, Kai-Lu Zhang, Bei Gao, Jing-Fang Yang, Yuan Tian, Debatosh Das, Tao Fan, Lei Dai, Ge-Fei Hao, Guang-Fu Yang, Jianhua Zhang, Fu-Yuan Zhu, Yan-Ming Fang. Phylogenetic comparison of 5' splice site determination in central spliceosomal proteins of the U1-70K gene family, in response to developmental cues and stress conditions. The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology. 2020 Jul;103(1):357-378

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PMID: 32133712

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