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J Biol Chem. 2000 May 12;275(19):14767-76.

Fibrillarin-associated box C/D small nucleolar RNAs in Trypanosoma brucei. Sequence conservation and implications for 2'-O-ribose methylation of rRNA.

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  • 1Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8040, USA.


We report the identification of 17 box C/D fibrillarin-associated small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) from the ancient eukaryote, Trypanosoma brucei. To systematically isolate and characterize these snoRNAs, the T. brucei cDNA for the box C/D snoRNA common protein, fibrillarin, was cloned and polyclonal antibodies to the recombinant fibrillarin protein were generated in rabbits. Immunoprecipitations from T. brucei extracts with the anti-fibrillarin antibodies indicated that this trypanosomatid has at least 30 fibrillarin-associated snoRNAs. We have sequenced seventeen of them and designated them TBR for T. brucei RNA 1-17. All of them bear conserved box C, D, C', and D' elements, a hallmark of fibrillarin-associated snoRNAs in eukaryotes. Fourteen of them are novel T. brucei snoRNAs. Fifteen bear potential guide regions to mature rRNAs suggesting that they are involved in 2'-O-ribose methylation. Indeed, eight ribose methylations have been mapped in the rRNA at sites predicted by the snoRNA sequences. Comparative genomics indicates that six of the seventeen are the first trypanosome homologs of known yeast and vertebrate methylation guide snoRNAs. Our results indicate that T. brucei has many fibrillarin-associated box C/D snoRNAs with roles in 2'-O-ribose methylation of rRNA and that the mechanism for targeting the nucleotide to be methylated at the fifth nucleotide upstream of box D or D' originated in early eukaryotes.

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