We recently described an RNA-binding protein, Y14, that binds preferentially to spliced mRNAs and persists in the cytoplasm. Y14 is part of a multi-protein complex that also contains the mRNA export factor TAP. This suggests that splicing imprints the mRNA with a unique set of proteins that communicate the history of the transcript to the cytoplasm. Here, using microinjection of pre-mRNAs into Xenopus oocyte nuclei followed by immunoprecipitation of RNase-fragmented mRNAs from the cytoplasm, we show that Y14 is stably bound to sequences immediately up-stream of exon-exon junctions. This feature appears to be unique to Y14. Using monoclonal antibodies that we produced against Aly/REF, another component recently reported to be an mRNA export factor, we show that Aly/REF is associated with spliced mRNAs in the nucleus but is not detectable on mRNAs in the cytoplasm. Thus, we propose that the splicing-dependent binding of Y14 provides a position-specific molecular memory that communicates to the cytoplasm the location of exon and intron boundaries. This novel mechanism may play an important role in post-splicing events.
- Nuclear transport