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Drosophila melanogaster genes for U1 snRNA variants and their expression during development.

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  • Biology


We have cloned and characterized a complete set of seven U1-related sequences from Drosophila melanogaster. These sequences are located at the three cytogenetic loci 21D, 82E, and 95C. Three of these sequences have been previously studied: one U1 gene at 21D which encodes the prototype U1 sequence (U1a), one U1 gene at 82E which encodes a U1 variant with a single nucleotide substitution (U1b), and a pseudogene at 82E. The four previously uncharacterized genes are another U1b gene at 82E, two additional U1a genes at 95C, and a U1 gene at 95C which encodes a new variant (U1c) with a distinct single nucleotide change relative to U1a. Three blocks of 5' flanking sequence similarity are common to all six full length genes. Using specific primer extension assays, we have observed that the U1b RNA is expressed in Drosophila Kc cells and is associated with snRNP proteins, suggesting that the U1b-containing snRNP particles are able to participate in the process of pre-mRNA splicing. We have also examined the expression throughout Drosophila development of the two U1 variants relative to the prototype sequence. The U1c variant is undetectable by our methods, while the U1b variant exhibits a primarily embryonic pattern reminiscent of the expression of certain U1 variants in sea urchin, Xenopus, and mouse.

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