Pre-mRNA splicing requires dramatic RNA rearrangements hypothesized to be catalyzed by ATP-dependent RNA unwindases of the DExD/H box family. In a rearrangement critical for the fidelity of 5' splice site recognition, a base-pairing interaction between the 5' splice site and U1 snRNA must be switched for a mutually exclusive interaction between the 5' splice site and U6 snRNA. By lengthening the U1:5' splice site duplex, we impeded this switch in a temperature-dependent manner and prevented formation of the spliceosome's catalytic core. Using genetics, we identified the DExD/H box protein Prp28p as a potential mediator of the switch. In vitro, the switch requires both Prp28p and ATP. We propose that Prp28p directs isomerization of RNA at the 5' splice site and promotes fidelity in splicing.