Send to

Choose Destination
Bioessays. 2013 Jan;35(1):46-54. doi: 10.1002/bies.201200117. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Processing of snoRNAs as a new source of regulatory non-coding RNAs: snoRNA fragments form a new class of functional RNAs.

Author information

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA.


Recent experimental evidence suggests that most of the genome is transcribed into non-coding RNAs. The initial transcripts undergo further processing generating shorter, metabolically stable RNAs with diverse functions. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that modify rRNAs, tRNAs, and snRNAs that were considered stable. We review evidence that snoRNAs undergo further processing. High-throughput sequencing and RNase protection experiments showed widespread expression of snoRNA fragments, known as snoRNA-derived RNAs (sdRNAs). Some sdRNAs resemble miRNAs, these can associate with argonaute proteins and influence translation. Other sdRNAs are longer, form complexes with hnRNPs and influence gene expression. C/D box snoRNA fragmentation patterns are conserved across multiple cell types, suggesting a processing event, rather than degradation. The loss of expression from genetic loci that generate canonical snoRNAs and processed snoRNAs results in diseases, such as Prader-Willi Syndrome, indicating possible physiological roles for processed snoRNAs. We propose that processed snoRNAs acquire new roles in gene expression and represent a new class of regulatory RNAs distinct from canonical snoRNAs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center