Antisense box C/D small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) guide the 2'-O-ribose methylations of eukaryotic rRNAs and small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) through formation of a specific base pairing at each RNA methylation site. By analysis of a box C/D snoRNA cDNA library constructed from rat brain RNAs, we have identified a novel box C/D snoRNA, RBII-36, which is devoid of complementarity to rRNA or an snRNA and exhibits a brain-specific expression pattern. It is uniformly expressed in all major areas of adult rat brain (except for choroid plexus) and throughout rat brain ontogeny but exclusively detected in neurons in which it exhibits a nucleolar localization. In vertebrates, known methylation guide snoRNAs are intron-encoded and processed from transcripts of housekeeping genes. In contrast, RBII-36 snoRNA is intron-encoded in a gene preferentially expressed in the rat central nervous system and not in proliferating cells. Remarkably, this host gene, which encodes a previously reported noncoding RNA, Bsr, spans tandemly repeated 0.9-kilobase units including the snoRNA-containing intron. The novel brain-specific snoRNA appears to result not only from processing of the debranched lariat but also from endonucleolytic cleavages of unspliced Bsr RNA (i.e. an alternative splicing-independent pathway unreported so far for mammalian intronic snoRNAs). Sequences homologous to RBII-36 snoRNA were exclusively detected in the Rattus genus of rodents, suggesting a very recent origin of this brain-specific snoRNA.