Prp19 is the founding member of the NineTeen Complex, or NTC, which is a spliceosomal subcomplex essential for spliceosome activation. To define Prp19 connectivity and dynamic protein interactions within the spliceosome, we systematically queried the Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteome for Prp19 WD40 domain interaction partners by two-hybrid analysis. We report that in addition to S. cerevisiae Cwc2, the splicing factor Prp17 binds directly to the Prp19 WD40 domain in a 1:1 ratio. Prp17 binds simultaneously with Cwc2 indicating that it is part of the core NTC complex. We also find that the previously uncharacterized protein Urn1 (Dre4 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe) directly interacts with Prp19, and that Dre4 is conditionally required for pre-mRNA splicing in S. pombe. S. pombe Dre4 and S. cerevisiae Urn1 co-purify U2, U5, and U6 snRNAs and multiple splicing factors, and dre4Δ and urn1Δ strains display numerous negative genetic interactions with known splicing mutants. The S. pombe Prp19-containing Dre4 complex co-purifies three previously uncharacterized proteins that participate in pre-mRNA splicing, likely before spliceosome activation. Our multi-faceted approach has revealed new low abundance splicing factors connected to NTC function, provides evidence for distinct Prp19 containing complexes, and underscores the role of the Prp19 WD40 domain as a splicing scaffold.
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