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Landthaler, Markus; Shub, David A. (1999)
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Biological Sciences
Identifiers:pmc:PMC22036
Analysis of RNA that can be labeled with GTP indicates the existence of group I introns in genes of at least three transcriptional classes in the genome of Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage Twort. A single ORF of 142 amino acids (Orf142) is interrupted by three self-splicing group I introns, providing the first example of a phage gene with multiple intron insertions. Twort Orf142 is encoded in a message that is abundant 15–20 min after infection and is highly similar to a late gene product (Orf8) of the morphologically related Listeria phage A511. The introns in orf142 are spliced in vivo and contain all the conserved features of primary sequence and secondary structure of group I introns in subgroup IA2, which includes the introns in Escherichia coli phage T4 and the Bacillus phages β22 and SPO1. Introns I2 and I3 in orf142 are highly similar, and their intron insertion sites are closely spaced. The presence of transcripts with a skipped exon between these introns indicates that they may fold into a single active ribozyme resulting in alternative splicing. Alternatively, the cleaved 5′ exon preceding I2 may undergo trans splicing to the 3′ exon that follows I3. Regardless of the detailed mechanism, these results demonstrate a new means whereby a single gene can give rise to multiple messenger RNAs.
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