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EMBO J. 1998 Feb 2; 17(3): 797–807.
PMCID: PMC1170428

Sequence and structural elements of methylation guide snoRNAs essential for site-specific ribose methylation of pre-rRNA.


Site-specific 2'-O-ribose methylation of eukaryotic rRNAs is guided by small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs). The methylation guide snoRNAs carry long perfect complementaries to rRNAs. These antisense elements are located either in the 5' half or in the 3' end region of the snoRNA, and are followed by the conserved D' or D box motifs, respectively. An uninterrupted helix formed between the rRNA and the antisense element of the snoRNA, in conjunction with the adjacent D' or D box, constitute the recognition signal for the putative methyltransferase. Here, we have identified an additional essential box element common to methylation guide snoRNAs, termed the C' box. We show that the C' box functions in concert with the D' box and plays a crucial role in the methyltransfer reaction directed by the upstream antisense element and the D' box. We also show that an internal fragment of U24 methylation guide snoRNA, encompassing the upstream antisense element and the D' and C' box motifs, can support the site-specific methylation of rRNA. This strongly suggests that the C box of methylation guide snoRNAs plays an essential role in the methyltransfer reaction guided by the 3'-terminal antisense element and the D box of the snoRNA.

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Selected References

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