Cellular RNAs: Varied Roles


In the cell, there are three major types of RNA directly involved in protein synthesis. In addition, many other cellular RNAs also play important functions.

Keywords: snRNA; snoRNA; SRP RNA; RNA modification; spliceosome

Figure 1.

A comparison of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic ribosomal RNAs. The (LSU) is shown in blue and the (SSU) is shown in yellow. (a) In prokaryotes there are three types of rRNA: 5S and 23S rRNAs in LSU, 16S rRNA in SSU. (b) In eukaryotes there are four types of rRNA: 5S, 5.8S and 28S rRNAs in LSU, 18S rRNA in SSU.

Figure 2.

A simplified view of the spliceosome assembly and rearrangement. U1 snRNPs binds to the 5′ splice site, U2 subsequently binds to the branch site and then U4/U5/U6 triple snRNPs join in. After a dynamic rearrangement, U1 and U4 are destabilized, and the spliceosome is activated for the two steps of cleavage–ligation event.

Figure 3.

Schematic representation of box C/D and box ACA snoRNAs in directing 2′‐O‐methylation and pseudouridine (Ψ) formation. (a) Box C/D snoRNA directs 2′‐O‐methylation. (b) Box ACA snoRNA directs pseudouridine formation. Each box ACA snoRNA may contain one or both of the internal loop structure, called ‘pseudouridylation pocket’. Modified from Tollervey D and Kiss T (1997) Current Opinion in Cell Biology 9: 337–342.


Further Reading

Baserga SJ and Steitz JA (1993) The diverse world of small ribonucleoproteins. In: Gesteland RF and Atkins JF (eds) The RNA World, pp. 359–382. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Grosjean H and Benne R (1998) Modification and Editing of RNA. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Sharp PA (1994) Split genes and RNA splicing. Cell 77: 805–815.

Simons RW and Grunberg‐Manago M (1998) RNA Structure and Function. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Soll D and RajBhandary UL (1995) tRNA: Structure, Biosynthesis, and Function. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Staley JP and Guthrie C (1998) Mechanical devices of the spliceosome: motors, clocks, springs and things. Cell 92: 315–326.

Tollervey D and Kiss T (1997) Function and synthesis of small nucleolar RNAs. Current Opinion in Cell Biology 9: 337–342.

Walter P and Johnson AE (1994) Signal sequence recognition and protein targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. Annual Review of Cell Biology 10: 87–119.

Zimmermann RA and Dahlberg AE (1996) Ribosomal RNA Structure, Evolution, Processing, and Function in Protein Biosynthesis. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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Gu, Jian, and Reddy, Ram(Apr 2001) Cellular RNAs: Varied Roles. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000873]