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Mol Microbiol. 2001 May;40(3):509-19.

A guided tour: small RNA function in Archaea.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, 2146 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.


In eukaryotes, the C/D box family of small nucleolar (sno)RNAs contain complementary guide regions that are used to direct 2'-O-ribose methylation to specific nucleotide positions within rRNA during the early stages of ribosome biogenesis. Direct cDNA cloning and computational genome searches have revealed homologues of C/D box snoRNAs (called sRNAs) in prokaryotic Archaea that grow at high temperature. The guide sequences within the sRNAs indicate that they are used to direct methylation to nucleotides in both rRNAs and tRNAs. The number of sRNA genes that are detectable within currently sequenced genomes correlates with the optimal growth temperature. We suggest that archaeal sRNAs may have two functions: to guide the deposition of methyl groups at the 2'-O position of ribose, which is an important determinant in RNA structural stability, and to serve as a molecular chaperones to help orchestrate the folding of rRNAs and tRNAs at high temperature.

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