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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2004 Jun;14(3):335-43.

RNA structure and function in C/D and H/ACA s(no)RNPs.

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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA Box 951569, 607 Charles E Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA.


From archaea to humans, C/D- and H/ACA-type small ribonucleoprotein particles play key roles in crucial RNA processing events. Various such particles are required for pre-rRNA cleavage steps and/or for chemical modification of rRNAs, spliceosomal small nuclear RNAs, tRNAs and perhaps even mRNAs. Each C/D-type particle contains a small RNA possessing conserved C and D, as well as related C' and D', sequence motifs, whereas each H/ACA-type particle contains a small RNA featuring conserved H and ACA sequence elements. Recently published studies highlight the importance of sequence and structural elements of these RNAs in the localization, activity and assembly of the ribonucleoprotein particles. A novel sequence element, the Cajal body box, found at the apex of stem structures within a subset of H/ACA small RNAs, mediates the specific retention of particles containing these elements inside nucleoplasmic Cajal bodies. Two highly conserved elements, the m1 and m2 boxes, have been identified in the 3' stem of the atypical H/ACA snR30/U17 RNAs. These conserved sequence elements are necessary for early pre-rRNA cleavage events and consequently for mature 18S rRNA production. Finally, convincing evidence has been provided that the conserved C and D sequence motifs of C/D-type small RNAs fold into a helix-bulge-helix structure, called a kink-turn, that provides a platform for assembly of C/D-type ribonucleoprotein particles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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