Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are among the first discovered and most extensively studied group of small non-coding RNA. However, most studies focused on a small subset of snoRNAs that guide the modification of ribosomal RNA. In this study, we annotated the expression pattern of all box C/D snoRNAs in normal and cancer cell lines independent of their functions. The results indicate that C/D snoRNAs are expressed as two distinct forms differing in their ends with respect to boxes C and D and in their terminal stem length. Both forms are overexpressed in cancer cell lines but display a conserved end distribution. Surprisingly, the long forms are more dependent than the short forms on the expression of the core snoRNP protein NOP58, thought to be essential for C/D snoRNA production. In contrast, a subset of short forms are dependent on the splicing factor RBFOX2. Analysis of the potential secondary structure of both forms indicates that the k-turn motif required for binding of NOP58 is less stable in short forms which are thus less likely to mature into a canonical snoRNP. Taken together the data suggest that C/D snoRNAs are divided into at least two groups with distinct maturation and functional preferences.
© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.