A novel family of plant splicing factors with a Zn knuckle motif: examination of RNA binding and splicing activities

Plant Mol Biol. 1999 Mar;39(4):761-73. doi: 10.1023/a:1006129615846.


An important group of splicing factors involved in constitutive and alternative splicing contain an arginine/serine (RS)-rich domain. We have previously demonstrated the existence of such factors in plants and report now on a new family of splicing factors (termed the RSZ family) from Arabidopsis thaliana which additionally harbor a Zn knuckle motif similar to the human splicing factor 9G8. Although only around 20 kDa in size, members of this family possess a multi-domain structure. In addition to the N-terminal RNA recognition motif (RRM), a Zn finger motif of the CCHC-type is inserted in an RGG-rich region; all three motifs are known to contribute to RNA binding. The C-terminal domain has a characteristic repeated structure which is very arginine-rich and centered around an SP dipeptide. One member of this family, atRSZp22, has been shown to be a phosphoprotein with properties similar to SR proteins. Furthermore, atRSZp22 was able to complement efficiently splicing deficient mammalian S100 as well as h9G8-depleted extracts. RNA binding assays to selected RNA sequences indicate an RNA binding specificity similar to the human splicing factors 9G8 and SRp20. Taken together, these result show that atRSZp22 is a true plant splicing factor which combines structural and functional features of both h9G8 and hSRp20.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • Zinc Fingers


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RSZ protein, Arabidopsis
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ002377
  • GENBANK/AJ002378