Two different experimental approaches have provided evidence that both U2 and U1 snRNPs function in pre-mRNA splicing. When the U2 snRNPs in a nuclear extract are selectively degraded using ribonuclease H and either of two deoxyoligonucleotides complementary to U2 RNA, splicing activity is abolished. Mixing an extract in which U2 has been degraded with one in which U1 has been degraded recovers activity. Use of anti-(U2)RNP autoantibodies demonstrates that U2 snRNPs associate with the precursor RNA during in vitro splicing. At 60 min, but not at 0 min, into the reaction intron fragments that include the branch-point sequence are immunoprecipitated by anti-(U2)RNP. At all times, U1 snRNPs bind the 5' splice site of the pre-mRNA. Possible interactions of the U2 snRNP with the U1 snRNP and with the pre-mRNA during splicing are considered.