The La-related protein 7 (LARP7) forms a complex with the nuclear 7SK RNA to regulate RNA polymerase II transcription. It has been implicated in cancer and the Alazami syndrome, a severe developmental disorder. Here, we report a so far unknown role of this protein in RNA modification. We show that LARP7 physically connects the spliceosomal U6 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) with a distinct subset of box C/D small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) guiding U6 2'-O-methylation. Consistently, these modifications are severely compromised in the absence of LARP7. Although general splicing remains largely unaffected, transcriptome-wide analysis revealed perturbations in alternative splicing in LARP7-depleted cells. Importantly, we identified defects in 2'-O-methylation of the U6 snRNA in Alazami syndrome siblings carrying a LARP7 mutation. Our data identify LARP7 as a bridging factor for snoRNA-guided modification of the U6 snRNA and suggest that alterations in splicing fidelity contribute to the etiology of the Alazami syndrome.
Keywords: 2′-O-methylation; Alazami syndrome; LARP7; RNA binding proteins; U6 snRNA; snRNAs; snoRNAs; splicing.
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