Cajal body-specific small nuclear RNAs: a novel class of 2'-O-methylation and pseudouridylation guide RNAs

EMBO J. 2002 Jun 3;21(11):2746-56. doi: 10.1093/emboj/21.11.2746.


Cajal (coiled) bodies are conserved subnuclear organelles that are present in the nucleoplasm of both animal and plant cells. Although Cajal bodies were first described nearly 100 years ago, their function has remained largely speculative. Here, we describe a novel class of human small nuclear RNAs that localize specifically to Cajal bodies. The small Cajal body-specific RNAs (scaRNAs) are predicted or have already been demonstrated to function as guide RNAs in site-specific synthesis of 2'-O-ribose-methylated nucleotides and pseudouridines in the RNA polymerase II-transcribed U1, U2, U4 and U5 spliceosomal small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs). Our results provide strong support for the idea that the Cajal body, this mysterious nuclear organelle, provides the cellular locale for post-transcriptional modification of spliceosomal snRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Coiled Bodies / metabolism*
  • Coiled Bodies / physiology*
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Methylation
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Spliceosomes / metabolism
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Uridine Monophosphate / metabolism*
  • Xenopus


  • DNA, Complementary
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • pseudouridylic acid
  • RNA
  • Uridine Monophosphate

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY077737
  • GENBANK/AY077738
  • GENBANK/AY077739
  • GENBANK/AY077740
  • GENBANK/AY077741
  • GENBANK/AY077742