The spacing between functional Cis-elements of U3 snoRNA is critical for rRNA processing.J Mol Biol. 2000 Jun 30; 300(1):57-74.JM
The sequences and structural features of Xenopus laevis U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) necessary for pre-rRNA cleavage at sites 1 and 2 to form 18 S rRNA were assayed by depletion/rescue experiments in Xenopus oocytes. Mutagenesis results demonstrated that the putative stem of U3 domain I is unnecessary for 18 S rRNA processing. A model consistent with earlier experimental data is proposed for the structure of domain I when U3 is not yet bound to pre-rRNA. For its function in rRNA processing, a newly discovered element (5' hinge) was revealed to be important but not as critical as the 3' hinge region in Xenopus U3 snoRNA for 18 S rRNA formation. Base-pairing is proposed to occur between the U3 5' hinge and 3' hinge and complementary regions in the external transcribed spacer (ETS); these interactions are phylogenetically conserved, and are homologous to those previously described in yeast (5' hinge-ETS) and trypanosomes (3' hinge-ETS). A model is presented where the base-pairing of the 5' hinge and 3' hinge of U3 snoRNA with the ETS of pre-rRNA helps to correctly position U3 boxes A'+A for their function in rRNA processing. Like an earlier proposal for yeast, boxes A' and A of Xenopus may base-pair with 18 S sequences in pre-rRNA. We present the first direct experimental evidence in any system that box A' is essential for U3 snoRNA function in 18 S rRNA formation. The analysis of insertions and deletions indicated that the spacing between the U3 elements is important, suggesting that they base-pair with the ETS and 18 S regions of pre-rRNA at the same time.