The duplex formed between the branch site (BS) of a spliceosomal intron and its cognate sequence in U2 snRNA is important for spliceosome assembly and the first catalytic step of splicing. We describe the development of an orthogonal BS-U2 system in S. cerevisiae in which spliceosomes containing a grossly substituted second-copy U2 snRNA mediate the in vivo splicing of a single reporter transcript carrying a cognate substitution. Systematic use of this approach to investigate requirements for branching catalysis reveals considerable flexibility in the sequence of the BS-U2 duplex and its positioning relative to the catalytic center. Branching efficiency depends on the identity of the branch nucleotide, its position within the BS-U2 duplex, and its distance from U2/U6 helix Ia. These results provide insights into substrate selection during spliceosomal branching catalysis; additionally, this system provides a foundation and tool for future mechanistic splicing research. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Smith, D. J., Konarska, M. M., & Query, C. C. (2009). Insights into Branch Nucleophile Positioning and Activation from an Orthogonal Pre-mRNA Splicing System in Yeast. Molecular Cell, 34(3), 333–343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2009.03.012