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EMBO J. 1999 Jan 15;18(2):457-69.

Elements essential for accumulation and function of small nucleolar RNAs directing site-specific pseudouridylation of ribosomal RNAs.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Mol├ęculaire Eucaryote du CNRS, 118 route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse, France.


During site-specific pseudouridylation of eukaryotic rRNAs, selection of correct substrate uridines for isomerization into pseudouridine is directed by small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs). The pseudouridylation guide snoRNAs share a common 'hairpin-hinge- hairpin-tail' secondary structure and two conserved sequence motifs, the H and ACA boxes, located in the single-stranded hinge and tail regions, respectively. In the 5'- and/or 3'-terminal hairpin, an internal loop structure, the pseudouridylation pocket, selects the target uridine through formation of base-pairing interactions with rRNAs. Here, essential elements for accumulation and function of rRNA pseudouridylation guide snoRNAs have been analysed by expressing various mutant yeast snR5, snR36 and human U65 snoRNAs in yeast cells. We demonstrate that the H and ACA boxes that are required for formation of the correct 5' and 3' ends of the snoRNA, respectively, are also essential for the pseudouridylation reaction directed by both the 5'- and 3'-terminal pseudouridylation pockets. Similarly, RNA helices flanking the two pseudouridylation pockets are equally essential for pseudouridylation reactions mediated by either the 5' or 3' hairpin structure, indicating that the two hairpin domains function in a highly co-operative manner. Finally, we demonstrate that by manipulating the rRNA recognition motifs of pseudouridylation guide snoRNAs, novel pseudouridylation sites can be generated in yeast rRNAs.

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