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U6 snRNA intron insertion occurred multiple times during fungi evolution

: Canzler, Sebastian; Stadler, Peter F.; Hertel, Jana


RNA biology 13 (2016), No.2, pp.119-127
ISSN: 1547-6286
ISSN: 1555-8584
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
STA 850/15-1
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZI ()
fungi; homology search; intron; snRNA; snRNA evolution

U6 small nuclear RNAs are part of the splicing machinery. They exhibit several unique features setting them appart from other snRNAs. Reports of introns in structured non-coding RNAs have been very rare. U6 genes, however, were found to be interrupted by an intron in several Schizosaccharomyces species and in 2 Basidiomycota. We conducted a homology search across 147 currently available fungal genome and identified the U6 genes in all but 2 of them. A detailed comparison of their sequences and predicted secondary structures showed that intron insertion events in the U6 snRNA were much more common in the fungal lineage than previously thought. Their positional distribution across the entire mature snRNA strongly suggests a large number of independent events. All the intron sequences reported here show canonical splice site and branch site motifs indicating that they require the splicesomal pathway for their removal.