A spliced intron accumulates as a lariat in the nucleus of T cells

Nucleic Acids Res. 1992 Oct 25;20(20):5345-50. doi: 10.1093/nar/20.20.5345.


The vast majority of mammalian genes are interrupted by non-coding segments of DNA termed introns. Introns are spliced out of RNA transcripts as lariat structures, and then are typically debranched and rapidly degraded. Here, we described an unusual spliced intron from the constant region of the T cell receptor-beta (TCR-beta) locus that is relatively stable in mammalian cells. This intron, IVS1C beta 1, accumulates as a set of lariat RNA structures with different length tails in the nucleus of T cells. The accumulation of this spliced intron is developmentally regulated during murine thymocyte ontogeny. The property of stability appears to be evolutionarily conserved since the human version of this intron also accumulates in T cells. The stability is selective since other spliced TCR-beta introns do not detectably accumulate in T cells. The unusual stability of this intron does not depend on T cell specific factors since non-T cells transfected with TCR-beta gene constructs also accumulate spliced IVS1C beta 1. The discovery of a mammalian intron that accumulates as a lariat in vivo provides an opportunity to elucidate mechanisms that regulate intron debranching, stability, and nuclear localization.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Introns / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA Splicing / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M97158