Mechanism of 5' splice site transfer for human spliceosome activation

Science. 2019 Apr 26;364(6438):362-367. doi: 10.1126/science.aax3289. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


The prespliceosome, comprising U1 and U2 small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) bound to the precursor messenger RNA 5' splice site (5'SS) and branch point sequence, associates with the U4/U6.U5 tri-snRNP to form the fully assembled precatalytic pre-B spliceosome. Here, we report cryo-electron microscopy structures of the human pre-B complex captured before U1 snRNP dissociation at 3.3-angstrom core resolution and the human tri-snRNP at 2.9-angstrom resolution. U1 snRNP inserts the 5'SS-U1 snRNA helix between the two RecA domains of the Prp28 DEAD-box helicase. Adenosine 5'-triphosphate-dependent closure of the Prp28 RecA domains releases the 5'SS to pair with the nearby U6 ACAGAGA-box sequence presented as a mobile loop. The structures suggest that formation of the 5'SS-ACAGAGA helix triggers remodeling of an intricate protein-RNA network to induce Brr2 helicase relocation to its loading sequence in U4 snRNA, enabling Brr2 to unwind the U4/U6 snRNA duplex to allow U6 snRNA to form the catalytic center of the spliceosome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Humans
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA Folding
  • RNA Splice Sites*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U4-U6 Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U4-U6 Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear / metabolism
  • Spliceosomes / chemistry
  • Spliceosomes / metabolism*
  • Spliceosomes / ultrastructure


  • RNA Splice Sites
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U4-U6 Small Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear
  • SNRNP200 protein, human
  • U1 small nuclear RNA
  • U4 small nuclear RNA
  • U6 small nuclear RNA