UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



3' Untranslated Regions; Base Sequence; Cell Nucleus; Coiled Bodies; Hela Cells; Humans; In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence; Molecular Sequence Data; RNA Precursors; RNA, Small Nuclear; *Transcription, Genetic


Cell Biology | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The Cajal (coiled) body (CB) is a structure enriched in proteins involved in mRNA, rRNA, and snRNA metabolism. CBs have been shown to interact with specific histone and snRNA gene loci. To examine the potential role of CBs in U2 snRNA metabolism, we used a variety of genomic and oligonucleotide probes to visualize in situ newly synthesized U2 snRNA relative to U2 loci and CBs. Results demonstrate that long spacer sequences between U2 coding repeats are transcribed, supporting other recent evidence that U2 transcription proceeds past the 3' box. The presence of bright foci of this U2 locus RNA differed between alleles within the same nucleus; however, this did not correlate with the loci's association with a CB. Experiments with specific oligonucleotide probes revealed signal for preU2 RNA within CBs. PreU2 was also detected in the locus-associated RNA foci, whereas sequences 3' of preU2 were found only in these foci, not in CBs. This suggests that a longer primary transcript is processed before entry into CBs. Although this work shows that direct contact of a U2 locus with a CB is not simply correlated with RNA at that locus, it provides the first evidence of new preU2 transcripts within CBs. We also show that, in contrast to CBs, SMN gems do not associate with U2 gene loci and do not contain preU2. Because other evidence indicates that preU2 is processed in the cytoplasm before assembly into snRNPs, results point to an involvement of CBs in modification or transport of preU2 RNA.


Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Sep;11(9):2987-98. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Molecular biology of the cell

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID