Spliceosome twin introns in fungal nuclear transcripts

Michel Flipphi, Erzsébet Fekete, Norbert Ág, Claudio Scazzocchio, Levente Karaffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


The spliceosome is an RNA/protein complex, responsible for intron excision from eukaryotic nuclear transcripts. In bacteria, mitochondria and plastids, intron excision does not involve the spliceosome, but occurs through mechanisms dependent on intron RNA secondary and tertiary structure. For group II/III chloroplast introns, "twintrons" (introns within introns) have been described. The excision of the external intron, and thus proper RNA maturation, necessitates prior removal of the internal intron, which interrupts crucial sequences of the former. We have here predicted analogous instances of spliceosomal twintrons ("stwintrons") in filamentous fungi. In two specific cases, where the internal intron interrupts the donor of the external intron after the first or after the second nucleotide, respectively, we show that intermediates with the sequence predicted by the "stwintron" hypothesis, are produced in the splicing process. This implies that two successive rounds of RNA scanning by the spliceosome are necessary to produce the mature mRNA. The phylogenetic distributions of the stwintrons we have identified suggest that they derive from "late" events, subsequent to the appearance of the host intron. They may well not be limited to fungal nuclear transcripts, and their generation and eventual disappearance in the evolutionary process are relevant to hypotheses of intron origin and alternative splicing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2013



  • Filamentous fungi
  • Intron late theory
  • Nuclear transcripts
  • Sequential splicing
  • Spliceosomal twin introns
  • Stwintronisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics

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