Processing of phage T4 td-encoded RNA is analogous to the eukaryotic group I splicing pathway

K. Ehrenman, J. Pedersen-Lane, D. West, R. Herman, F. Maley, M. Belfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Several features of the split td gene of phage T4 suggests an RNA processing mechanism analogous to that of the self-splicing rRNA of Tetrahymena and other group I eukaryotic introns. Previous work has revealed conserved sequence elements and the ability of td-encoded RNA to self-splice in vitro. We show here that a nonencoded guanosine residue is covalently joined to the 5' end of the intron during processing. Further, we demonstrate the existence of linear and circular intron forms in RNA extracted from T4-infected cells and from uninfected Escherichia coli expressing the cloned td gene. Sequence analysis of the intron cyclization junction indicates that the noncoded guanosine and one additional nucleotide are lost from the 5' end of the intron upon cyclization. This analysis places a uridine residue upstream of the cyclization site, in analogy to three other group I cyclization junctions. These striking similarities to the splicing intermediates of eukaryotic group I introns point not only to an analogous processing pathway and conserved features of cyclization site recognition but also to a common ancestry between this prokaryotic intervening sequence and the group I eukaryotic introns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5875-5879
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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