The yeast branchpoint sequence is not required for the formation of a stable U1 snRNA-pre-mRNA complex and is recognized in the absence of U2 snRNA.


Commitment complexes contain U1 snRNP as well as pre-mRNA and are the earliest functional complexes that have been described during in vitro spliceosome assembly. We have used a gel retardation assay to analyze the role of the yeast pre-mRNA cis-acting sequences in commitment complex formation. The results suggest that only a proper 5' splice site sequence is required for efficient U1 snRNA-pre-mRNA complex formation. A role for the highly conserved UACUAAC branchpoint sequence is indicated, however, by competition experiments and by the direct analysis of branchpoint mutant substrates, which cannot form one of the two commitment complex species observed with wild-type substrates. The results suggest that the formation of a U1 snRNP-pre-mRNA complex is not dependent upon the presence of a branchpoint sequence but that the branchpoint sequence is recognized prior to U2 snRNP addition during in vitro spliceosome assembly.

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