In eukaryotes, mRNA 3' termini are formed by endonucleolytic cleavage of a long primary transcript and polyadenylation of the new end. Here we show that sequences downstream of the poly(A) site are required for cleavage of simian virus 40 (SV40) late pre-mRNAs in vitro in a crude nuclear extract from HeLa cells. The critical sequences are functionally redundant: extensive deletions or substitutions of downstream sequences prevent cleavage, but small substitutions do not. This functional redundancy is not due to a repetition of the same sequence. Either two or more different sequences can promote cleavage, or a single element exists which is long and diffuse. Although pre-mRNAs transcribed from certain genes require a U- or UG-rich sequence downstream of the poly(A) site for efficient cleavage, SV40 does not. Removal of these sequences from SV40 late pre-mRNAs does not significantly reduce cleavage efficiency. Downstream sequences also are required for formation of a specific precleavage complex between SV40 pre-mRNA and components present in the extract. Mutant RNAs that are cleaved efficiently form such complexes, while those that are cleaved inefficiently do not. Based on these and previous results (Zarkower, D., and Wickens, M. (1987b) EMBO J. 6, 4185-4192), we propose that a critical role of the region downstream of the poly(A) site is to facilitate formation of a specific precleavage complex in which cleavage subsequently occurs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|State||Published - 1988|