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Title: Genetic analysis of human RNA binding motif protein 48 (RBM48) reveals an essential role in U12-type intron splicing

U12-type or minor introns are found in most multicellular eukaryotes and constitute ∼0.5% of all introns in species with a minor spliceosome. Although the biological significance for the evolutionary conservation of U12-type introns is debated, mutations disrupting U12 splicing cause developmental defects in both plants and animals. In human hematopoietic stem cells, U12 splicing defects disrupt proper differentiation of myeloid lineages and are associated with myelodysplastic syndrome, predisposing individuals to acute myeloid leukemia. Mutants in the maize ortholog of RNA binding motif protein 48 (RBM48) have aberrant U12-type intron splicing. Human RBM48 was recently purified biochemically as part of the minor spliceosome and shown to recognize the 5′ end of the U6atac snRNA. In this report, we use CRISPR/Cas9-mediated ablation of RBM48 in human K-562 cells to show the genetic function of RBM48. RNA-seq analysis comparing wild-type and mutant K-562 genotypes found that 48% of minor intron-containing genes have significant U12-type intron retention in RBM48 mutants. Comparing these results to maize rbm48 mutants defined a subset of minor intron-containing genes disrupted in both species. Mutations in the majority of these orthologous minor intron-containing genes have been reported to cause developmental defects in both plants and animals. Our results provide more » genetic evidence that the primary defect of human RBM48 mutants is aberrant U12-type intron splicing, while a comparison of human and maize RNA-seq data identifies candidate genes likely to mediate mutant phenotypes of U12-type splicing defects.

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Oxford University Press
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National Science Foundation
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