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Open Access Research article

Exon sequence requirements for excision in vivo of the bacterial group II intron RmInt1

Antonio Barrientos-Durán12, Isabel Chillón1, Francisco Martínez-Abarca1 and Nicolás Toro1*

Author Affiliations

1 Grupo de Ecología Genética, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). C/Profesor Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain

2 Department of Biochemistry, University of California, 900 University Avenue 92521, Riverside (CA) USA

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BMC Molecular Biology 2011, 12:24  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-12-24

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Group II intron splicing proceeds through two sequential transesterification reactions in which the 5' and 3'-exons are joined together and the lariat intron is released. The intron-encoded protein (IEP) assists the splicing of the intron in vivo and remains bound to the excised intron lariat RNA in a ribonucleoprotein particle (RNP) that promotes intron mobility. Exon recognition occurs through base-pairing interactions between two guide sequences on the ribozyme domain dI known as EBS1 and EBS2 and two stretches of sequence known as IBS1 and IBS2 on the 5' exon, whereas the 3' exon is recognized through interaction with the sequence immediately upstream from EBS1 [(δ-δ' interaction (subgroup IIA)] or with a nucleotide [(EBS3-IBS3 interaction (subgroup IIB and IIC))] located in the coordination-loop of dI. The δ nucleotide is involved in base pairing with another intron residue (δ') in subgroup IIB introns and this interaction facilitates base pairing between the 5' exon and the intron.

Results

In this study, we investigated nucleotide requirements in the distal 5'- and 3' exon regions, EBS-IBS interactions and δ-δ' pairing for excision of the group IIB intron RmInt1 in vivo. We found that the EBS1-IBS1 interaction was required and sufficient for RmInt1 excision. In addition, we provide evidence for the occurrence of canonical δ-δ' pairing and its importance for the intron excision in vivo.

Conclusions

The excision in vivo of the RmInt1 intron is a favored process, with very few constraints for sequence recognition in both the 5' and 3'-exons. Our results contribute to understand how group II introns spread in nature, and might facilitate the use of RmInt1 in gene targeting.