Reasearch Awards nomination

Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Genome Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Insights into snoRNA biogenesis and processing from PAR-CLIP of snoRNA core proteins and small RNA sequencing

Shivendra Kishore, Andreas R Gruber, Dominik J Jedlinski, Afzal P Syed, Hadi Jorjani and Mihaela Zavolan*

Author Affiliations

Computational and Systems Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50-70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland

For all author emails, please log on.

Genome Biology 2013, 14:R45  doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-5-r45

Published: 26 May 2013

Abstract

Background

In recent years, a variety of small RNAs derived from other RNAs with well-known functions such as tRNAs and snoRNAs, have been identified. The functional relevance of these RNAs is largely unknown. To gain insight into the complexity of snoRNA processing and the functional relevance of snoRNA-derived small RNAs, we sequence long and short RNAs, small RNAs that co-precipitate with the Argonaute 2 protein and RNA fragments obtained in photoreactive nucleotide-enhanced crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) of core snoRNA-associated proteins.

Results

Analysis of these data sets reveals that many loci in the human genome reproducibly give rise to C/D box-like snoRNAs, whose expression and evolutionary conservation are typically less pronounced relative to the snoRNAs that are currently cataloged. We further find that virtually all C/D box snoRNAs are specifically processed inside the regions of terminal complementarity, retaining in the mature form only 4-5 nucleotides upstream of the C box and 2-5 nucleotides downstream of the D box. Sequencing of the total and Argonaute 2-associated populations of small RNAs reveals that despite their cellular abundance, C/D box-derived small RNAs are not efficiently incorporated into the Ago2 protein.

Conclusions

We conclude that the human genome encodes a large number of snoRNAs that are processed along the canonical pathway and expressed at relatively low levels. Generation of snoRNA-derived processing products with alternative, particularly miRNA-like, functions appears to be uncommon.