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Molecular characterization of U3 small nucleolar RNA from the early diverging protist, Euglena gracilis

Greenwood, S.J., Schnare, M.N., Gray, M.W.
Current genetics 1996 v.30 no.4 pp. 338-346
Euglena gracilis, RNA, molecular conformation, nucleotide sequences, genetic variation, cell nucleolus, protein secondary structure
U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) has been isolated from Euglena gracilis, an early diverging protist, and its primary sequence determined. Although this 180-nucleotide-long RNA is considerably smaller than its homolog in vertebrate animals, it contains the conserved sequence blocks (boxes A, Ao, B, C and D) characteristic of U3 snoRNAs from other organisms. A secondary structure can be modelled that displays many of the salient features found in published core structures of vertebrate, yeast and trypanosome U3 snoRNAs. The functional significance of this proposed secondary structure is discussed in relation to the role E. gracilis U3 snoRNA may have in pre-rRNA processing in this organism. Multiple expressed species of E. gracilis U3 snoRNA were found to differ in nucleotide sequence at a number of positions; some of these differences alter pairing in the proposed secondary structure. Analysis of E. gracilis genomic DNA revealed a complex pattern of U3-hybridizing sequences that parallels the multiplicity of expressed species of U3 snoRNA revealed by transcript analysis.