Methylated cap structures in eukaryotic RNAs: structure, synthesis and functions

Pharmacol Ther. 1992;54(3):249-67. doi: 10.1016/0163-7258(92)90002-h.


There are more than twenty capped small nuclear RNAs characterized in eukaryotic cells. All the capped RNAs appear to be involved in the processing of other nuclear premessenger or preribosomal RNAs. These RNAs contain either trimethylguanosine (TMG) cap structure or methylated gamma phosphate (Mppp) cap structure. The TMG capped RNAs are capped with M7G during transcription by RNA polymerase II and trimethylated further post-transcriptionally. The Mppp-capped RNAs are transcribed by RNA polymerase III and also capped post-transcriptionally. The cap structures improve the stability of the RNAs and in some cases TMG cap is required for transport of the ribonucleoproteins from cytoplasm to the nucleus. Where tested, the cap structures were not essential for their function in processing other RNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / physiology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • RNA Cap Analogs / biosynthesis
  • RNA Cap Analogs / physiology*
  • RNA, Nuclear / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Nuclear / physiology*


  • RNA Cap Analogs
  • RNA, Nuclear
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases