Birth of the snoRNPs: The evolution of the modification-guide snoRNAs

D L J Lafontaine, D Tollervey

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Bacteria and eukaryotes adopt very different strategies to modify their rRNAs. Most sites of eukaryotic rRNA modification are selected by guide small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), while bacteria rely on numerous site-specific modification enzymes. This raises a 'chicken and egg' dilemma: how could a system of modification that requires a large number of snoRNA cofactors have developed? Did it arise in a de novo fashion, or evolve from a pre-existing protein-based system? The rRNA sequences are well conserved in evolution, but the pattern of modification is only moderately conserved, and many more sites are modified in eukaryotes than in bacteria; why is this so? We propose a model for the origins of the modification-guide snoRNAs that attempts to answer these questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in biochemical sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998


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