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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(5):1452-64. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

The structure and function of small nucleolar ribonucleoproteins.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Box 351700, Seattle, WA 98195-1700, USA.


Eukaryotes and archaea use two sets of specialized ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) to carry out sequence-specific methylation and pseudouridylation of RNA, the two most abundant types of modifications of cellular RNAs. In eukaryotes, these protein-RNA complexes localize to the nucleolus and are called small nucleolar RNPs (snoRNPs), while in archaea they are known as small RNPs (sRNP). The C/D class of sno(s)RNPs carries out ribose-2'-O-methylation, while the H/ACA class is responsible for pseudouridylation of their RNA targets. Here, we review the recent advances in the structure, assembly and function of the conserved C/D and H/ACA sno(s)RNPs. Structures of each of the core archaeal sRNP proteins have been determined and their assembly pathways delineated. Furthermore, the recent structure of an H/ACA complex has revealed the organization of a complete sRNP. Combined with current biochemical data, these structures offer insight into the highly homologous eukaryotic snoRNPs.

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