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Genomics July 1, 2009; 94 (1): 11-9.

Analysis of C/D box snoRNA genes in vertebrates: The number of copies decreases in placental mammals.

Makarova JA , Kramerov DA .

C/D box small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) guide site-specific 2''-O-methylation of RNAs. Nearly all C/D box snoRNAs with known targets are involved in rRNA modification. In vertebrates, snoRNAs are encoded in introns of various genes and their processing is coupled with splicing of host gene pre-mRNA. Here, the genes encoding C/D box snoRNAs that guide 2''-O-methylation of rRNA were identified and analyzed in vertebrate genomes. The number of copies of most C/D box snoRNA genes proved to be lower in placental mammals compared to other vertebrates. This can be due to smaller oocytes and accordingly lower number of ribosomes in them in eutherians. The targets of snoRNAs encoded by single-copy and multiple-copy genes proved to have different distribution in rRNAs. The causes of this difference are discussed. In some cases, the transcripts of homologous C/D box RNA genes were shown to guide the modification of neighboring nucleotides in rRNA. C/D box snoRNA pseudogenes were found in all vertebrate classes. Three novel C/D box snoRNAs were found in Xenopus tropicalis that may guide 2''-O-methylation of Xenopus-specific rRNA sites. A list of 922 annotated C/D box snoRNA genes is presented.

PubMed ID: 19272437
Article link: Genomics