The U1, U2, U4, U5 and U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs) are essential elements of the spliceosome, the enzyme that catalyzes the excision of introns and the ligation of exons to form a mature mRNA. Since their discovery over a quarter century ago, the structure, assembly and function of spliceosomal snRNPs have been extensively studied. Accordingly, the functions of splicing snRNPs and the role of various nuclear organelles, such as Cajal bodies (CBs), in their nuclear maturation phase have already been excellently reviewed elsewhere. The aim of this review is, then, to briefly outline the structure of snRNPs and to synthesize new and exciting developments in the snRNP biogenesis pathways.
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