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Nucleic Acids Res. Jul 25, 1995; 23(14): 2669–2676.
PMCID: PMC307091

U24, a novel intron-encoded small nucleolar RNA with two 12 nt long, phylogenetically conserved complementarities to 28S rRNA.


Following computer searches of sequence banks, we have positively identified a novel intronic snoRNA, U24, encoded in the ribosomal protein L7a gene in humans and chicken. Like previously reported intronic snoRNAs, U24 is devoid of a 5'-trimethyl-cap. U24 is immunoprecipitated by an antifibrillarin antibody and displays an exclusively nucleolar localization by fluorescence microscopy after in situ hybridization with antisense oligonucleotides. In vertebrates, U24 is a 76 nt long conserved RNA which is metabolically stable, present at approximately 14,000 molecules per human HeLa cell. U24 exhibits a 5'-3' terminal stem-box C-box D structure, typical for several snoRNAs, and contains two 12 nt long conserved sequences complementary to 28S rRNA. It is, therefore, strikingly related to U14, U20 and U21 snoRNAs which also possess long sequences complementary to conserved sequences of mature 18S or 28S rRNAs. In 28S rRNA the two tracts complementary to U24 are adjacent to each other, they involve several methylated nucleotides and are surprisingly close, within the rRNA secondary structure, to complementarities to snoRNAs U18 and U21. Identification of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae U24 gene directly confirms the outstanding conservation of the complementarity to 28S rRNA during evolution, suggesting a key role of U24 pairing to pre-rRNA during ribosome biogenesis, possible in the control of pre-rRNA folding. Yeast S.cerevisiae U24 is also intron-encoded but not in the same host-gene as in humans or chicken.

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