Excised group II introns in yeast mitochondria are lariats and can be formed by self-splicing in vitro

Cell. 1986 Jan 31;44(2):225-34. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(86)90756-7.


Excised group II introns in yeast mitochondria appear as covalently closed circles under the electron microscope. We show that these circular molecules are branched and resemble the lariats arising through splicing of nuclear pre-mRNAs in yeast and higher eukaryotes. One member of this intron class (aI5c in the gene for cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) is capable of self-splicing in vitro, giving correct exon-exon ligation and resulting in the appearance of both linear and lariat forms of the excised intron. Nuclease digestion of the latter molecules reveals the presence of a complex oligonucleotide with the probable structure AGU, which thus resembles the branch point formed in the spliceosome-dependent reactions undergone by nuclear pre-mRNAs. Unlike group I introns, this group II intron is not demonstrably dependent on GTP for self-splicing and circularization of the isolated, linear intron is not observed. A model accounting for these observations is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase