U-richness is a defining feature of plant introns and may function as an intron recognition signal in maize

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Abstract

Using a large set of plant gene sequences we compared individual introns to their flanking exons. Both Zea mays and Arabidopsis thaliana introns are U-rich but display no apparent bias for A. We identified fifteen 11-mer U-rich motifs as frequent elements of maize introns, and these are virtually absent from exons. By mutagenesis, we show that the single U-rich motif in the Bronze2 intron of maize plays a key role in intron processing in vivo.

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