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Identification of human miRNA precursors that resemble box C/D snoRNAs

Identification of human miRNA precursors that resemble box C/D snoRNAs

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  • Motoharu Ono
  • Michelle S. Scott
  • Kayo Yamada
  • Fabio Avolio
  • Geoffrey J. Barton
  • Angus I. Lamond

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3879-3891
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2011


There are two main classes of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs): the box C/D snoRNAs and the box H/ACA snoRNAs that function as guide RNAs to direct sequence-specific modification of rRNA precursors and other nucleolar RNA targets. A previous computational and biochemical analysis revealed a possible evolutionary relationship between miRNA precursors and some box H/ACA snoRNAs. Here, we investigate a similar evolutionary relationship between a subset of miRNA precursors and box C/D snoRNAs. Computational analyses identified 84 intronic miRNAs that are encoded within either box C/D snoRNAs, or in precursors showing similarity to box C/D snoRNAs. Predictions of the folded structures of these box C/D snoRNA-like miRNA precursors resemble the structures of known box C/D snoRNAs, with the boxes C and D often in close proximity in the folded molecule. All five box C/D snoRNA-like miRNA precursors tested (miR-27b, miR-16-1, mir-28, miR-31 and let-7g) bind to fibrillarin, a specific protein component of functional box C/D snoRNP complexes. The data suggest that a subset of small regulatory RNAs may have evolved from box C/D snoRNAs.



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