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Biochem Cell Biol. 1995 Nov-Dec;73(11-12):845-58.

Small nucleolar RNA.


A growing list of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) has been characterized in eukaryotes. They are transcribed by RNA polymerase II or III; some snoRNAs are encoded in the introns of other genes. The nonintronic polymerase II transcribed snoRNAs receive a trimethylguanosine cap, probably in the nucleus, and move to the nucleolus. snoRNAs are complexed with proteins, sometimes including fibrillarin. Localization and maintenance in the nucleolus of some snoRNAs requires the presence of initial precursor rRNA (pre-rRNA). Many snoRNAs have conserved sequence boxes C and D and a 3' terminal stem; the role of these features are discussed. Functional assays done for a few snoRNAs indicate their roles in rRNA processing for cleavage of the external and internal transcribed spacers (ETS and ITS). U3 is the most abundant snoRNA and is needed for cleavage of ETS1 and ITS1; experimental results on U3 binding sites in pre-rRNA are reviewed. 18S rRNA production also needs U14, U22, and snR30 snoRNAs, whereas U8 snoRNA is needed for 5.8S and 28S rRNA production. Other snoRNAs that are complementary to 18S or 28S rRNA might act as chaperones to mediate RNA folding. Whether snoRNAs join together in a large rRNA processing complex (the "processome") is not yet clear. It has been hypothesized that such complexes could anchor the ends of loops in pre-rRNA containing 18S or 28S rRNA, thereby replacing base-paired stems found in pre-rRNA of prokaryotes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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