Identification and functional analysis of two U3 binding sites on yeast pre-ribosomal RNA

M. Beltrame*, D. Tollervey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has long been known that U3 can be isolated hydrogen bonded to pre-ribosomal RNAs, but the sites of interaction are poorly characterized. Here we show that yeast U3 can be cross-linked to 35S pre-rRNA both in deproteinized extracts and in living cells. The sites of cross-linking were localized to the 5' external transcribed spacer (ETS) and then identified at the nucleotide level. Two regions of U3 near the 5' end are cross-linked to pre-rRNA in vivo and in vitro; the evolutionarily conserved box A region and a 10 nucleotide (nt) sequence with perfect complementarity to an ETS sequence. Two in vivo cross-links are detected in the ETS, at +470, within the region complementary to U3, and at +655, close to the cleavage site at the 5' end of 18S rRNA. A tagged rDNA construct was used to follow the effects of mutations in the ETS in vivo. A small deletion around the +470 cross-linking site in the ETS prevents the synthesis of 18S rRNA. This region is homologous to the site of vertebrate ETS cleavage. We propose that this site may be evolutionarily conserved to direct the assembly of a pre-rRNA processing complex required for the cleavages that generate 18S rRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1542
Number of pages12
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992


  • pre-rRNA
  • ribosomes
  • RNA
  • small nucleolar RNAs
  • U3 binding sites


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