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Unconventional Rules of Small Nuclear RNA Transcription and Cap Modification in Trypanosomatids

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This review focuses on the spliced leader (SL) RNA and uridylic acid-rich small nuclear RNAs (U-snRNAs) involved in pre-mRNA processing in trypanosomatid protozoa, with particular emphasis on the mechanism of transcription and cap formation. The SL RNA plays a central role in mRNA biogenesis by providing the unique cap 4 structure to the 5′ end of all mRNAs by trans-splicing. The trimethylguanosine capped U-snRNAs, on the other hand, represent an unusual example among eukaryotic snRNAs in that they are transcribed by RNA polymerase III. This implies the existence of a distinctive mechanism for capping enzyme selection by the transcriptional machinery. Furthermore, the transcription units of U-snRNA genes offer yet another example of the variety of choices that have been established during eukaryotic evolution, namely that an upstream tRNA gene or tRNA-like gene provides extragenic promoter elements for a downstream small RNA gene.
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Keywords: Spliced leader RNA trans-Splicing Cap formation Ca

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, PO Box 208022, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8022 2: †Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, PO Box 208022, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8022

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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