The two essential components of snRNPs are protein molecules and RNA. The RNA found within each snRNP particle is known as small nuclear RNA, or snRNA, and is usually about 150 nucleotides in length. The snRNA component of the snRNP gives specificity to individual introns by 'recognizing' the sequences of critical splicing signals at the 5' and 3' ends and branch site of introns. The snRNA in snRNPs is similar to ribosomal RNA in that it directly incorporates both an enzymatic and a structural role. SnRNPs were discovered by Michael R. Lerner and Joan A. Steitz.Thomas R. Cech and Sidney Altman also played a role in the discovery, winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1989 for their independent discoveries that RNA can act as a catalyst in cell development. At least five different kinds of snRNPs join the spliceosome to participate in splicing. They can be visualized by gel electrophoresis and are known individually as: U1, U2, U4, U5, and U6. Their snRNA components are known, respectively, as: U1 snRNA, U2 snRNA, U4 snRNA, U5 snRNA, and U6 snRNA. In the mid-1990s, it was discovered that a variant class of snRNPs exists to help in the splicing of a class of introns found only in metazoans, with highly conserved 5' splice sites and branch sites. This variant class of snRNPs includes: U11 snRNA, U12 snRNA, U4atac snRNA, and U6atac snRNA. While different, they perform the same functions as do U1, U2, U4, and U6, respectively. Additionally, U7 snRNP is made of U7 small nuclear RNA and associated proteins and is involved in the processing of the 3′ stem-loop of histone pre-mRNA. Small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) assemble in a tightly orchestrated and regulated process that involves both the cell nucleus and cytoplasm. The RNA polymerase II transcribes U1, U2, U4, U5 and the less abundant U11, U12 and U4atac (snRNAs) acquire a m7G-cap which serves as an export signal. Nuclear export is mediated by CRM1. The Sm proteins are synthesized in the cytoplasm by ribosomes translating Sm messenger RNA, just like any other protein. These are stored in the cytoplasm in the form of three partially assembled rings complexes all associated with the pICln protein. They are a 6S pentamer complex of SmD1,SmD2, SmF, SmE and SmG with pICln, a 2-4S complex of SmB, possibly with SmD3 and pICln and the 20S methylosome, which is a large complex of SmD3, SmB, SmD1, pICln and the arginine methyltransferase-5 (PRMT5) protein. SmD3, SmB and SmD1 undergo post-translational modification in the methylosome. These three Sm proteins have repeated arginine-glycine motifs in the C-terminal ends of SmD1, SmD3 and SmB, and the arginine side chains are symmetrically dimethylated to ω-NG, NG'-dimethyl-arginine. It has been suggested that pICln, which occurs in all three precursor complexes but is absent in the mature snRNPs, acts as a specialized chaperone, preventing premature assembly of Sm proteins.