The yeast Hansenula wingei U3 snoRNA gene contains an intron and its coding sequence co-evolved with the 5' ETS region of the pre-ribosomal RNA.RNA. 1996 Feb; 2(2):183-97.RNA
The 5' external transcribed spacer (ETS) region of the pre-rRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains a sequence with 10 bp of perfect complementarity to the U3 snoRNA. Base pairing between these sequences has been shown to be required for 18S rRNA synthesis, although interaction over the full 10 bp of complementarity is not required. We have identified the homologous sequence in the 5' ETS from the evolutionarily distant yeast Hansenula wingei; unexpectedly, this shows two sequence changes in the region predicted to base pair to U3. By PCR amplification and direct RNA sequencing, a single type of U3 snoRNA coding sequence was identified in H. wingei. As in the S. cerevisiae U3 snoRNA genes, it is interrupted by an intron with features characteristic of introns spliced in a spliceosome. Consequently, this unusual property is not restricted to the yeast genus Saccharomyces. The introns of the H. wingei and S. cerevisiae U3 genes show strong differences in length and sequence, but are located at the same position in the U3 sequence, immediately upstream of the phylogenetically conserved Box A region. The 3' domains of the H. wingei and S. cerevisiae U3 snoRNAs diverge strongly in primary sequence, but have very similar predicted secondary structures. The 5' domains, expected to play a direct role in pre-ribosomal RNA maturation, are more conserved. The sequence predicted to base pair to the pre-rRNA contains two nucleotide substitutions in H. wingei that restore 10 bp of perfect complementarity to the 5' ETS. This is a strong phylogenetic evidence for the importance of the U3/pre-rRNA interaction.