Comparison of preribosomal RNA processing pathways in yeast, plant and human cells - focus on coordinated action of endo- and exoribonucleases

FEBS Lett. 2017 Jul;591(13):1801-1850. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12682. Epub 2017 Jun 4.


Proper regulation of ribosome biosynthesis is mandatory for cellular adaptation, growth and proliferation. Ribosome biogenesis is the most energetically demanding cellular process, which requires tight control. Abnormalities in ribosome production have severe consequences, including developmental defects in plants and genetic diseases (ribosomopathies) in humans. One of the processes occurring during eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis is processing of the ribosomal RNA precursor molecule (pre-rRNA), synthesized by RNA polymerase I, into mature rRNAs. It must not only be accurate but must also be precisely coordinated with other phenomena leading to the synthesis of functional ribosomes: RNA modification, RNA folding, assembly with ribosomal proteins and nucleocytoplasmic RNP export. A multitude of ribosome biogenesis factors ensure that these events take place in a correct temporal order. Among them are endo- and exoribonucleases involved in pre-rRNA processing. Here, we thoroughly present a wide spectrum of ribonucleases participating in rRNA maturation, focusing on their biochemical properties, regulatory mechanisms and substrate specificity. We also discuss cooperation between various ribonucleolytic activities in particular stages of pre-rRNA processing, delineating major similarities and differences between three representative groups of eukaryotes: yeast, plants and humans.

Keywords: RNA quality control; RNA trimming; endoribonuclease; exoribonuclease; pre-rRNA processing; ribosome biogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Exoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Plant Cells / metabolism*
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • Ribosomes / genetics*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Yeasts / cytology*
  • Yeasts / genetics


  • RNA Precursors
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Exoribonucleases