Psoralen crosslinking of RNA-RNA intermolecular duplexes in sea urchin egg extracts reveals that some maternal poly(A)+ RNA molecules are complexed with U1 RNA, a cofactor in somatic nuclear pre-mRNA splicing. Reaction of egg extracts with a monoclonal antibody specific for U1 snRNP selects, in addition to U1, RNAs that contain repeated sequences interspersed with single-copy elements. Antibody-selection experiments with nucleate and anucleate egg halves demonstrate that most of the U1 RNA-interspersed RNA complexes are cytoplasmic, as is the egg's store of total U1 snRNP. These results raise the possibility that maternal interspersed RNAs include unprocessed pre-messenger RNA molecules in arrested complexes with splicing cofactors.

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