Cloning and molecular characterization of Trypanosoma cruzi U2, U4, U5, and U6 small nuclear RNAs
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Small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) are important factors in the functioning of eukaryotic cells that form several small complexes with proteins; these ribonucleoprotein particles (U snRNPs) have an essential role in the pre-mRNA processing, particularly in splicing, catalyzed by spliceosomes, large RNA-protein complexes composed of various snRNPs. Even though they are well defined in mammals, snRNPs are still not totally characterized in certain trypanosomatids as Trypanosoma cruzi. For this reason we subjected snRNAs (U2, U4, U5, and U6) from T. cruzi epimastigotes to molecular characterization by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcription-PCR. These amplified sequences were cloned, sequenced, and compared with those other of trypanosomatids. Among these snRNAs, U5 was less conserved and U6 the most conserved. Their respective secondary structures were predicted and compared with known T. brucei structures. In addition, the copy number of each snRNA in the T. cruzi genome was characterized by Southern blotting.