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Evolution of vault RNAs

: Stadler, Peter F.; Chen, Julian J.-L.; Hackermüller, Jörg; Hoffmann, Steve; Horn, Friedemann; Khaitovich, Phillip; Kretzschmar, Antje K.; Mosig, Axel; Prohaska, Sonja J.; Qi, Xiaodong; Schutt, Katharina; Ullmann, Kerstin


Molecular biology and evolution 26 (2009), Nr.9, S.1975-1991
ISSN: 0737-4038
ISSN: 1537-1719
Fraunhofer IZI ()
vault particle; vault RNA; micro RNA; homology search; RNA secondary structure

Vault RNAs (vtRNAs) are small, about 100 nt long, polymerase III transcripts contained in the vault particles of eukaryotic cells. Presumably due to their enigmatic function, they have received little attention compared with most other noncoding RNA (ncRNA) families. Their poor sequence conservation makes homology search a complex and tedious task even within vertebrates. Here we report on a systematic and comprehensive analysis of this rapidly evolving class of ncRNAs in deuterostomes, providing a comprehensive collection of computationally predicted vtRNA genes. We find that all previously described vtRNAs are located at a conserved genomic locus linked to the protocadherin gene cluster, an association that is conserved throughout gnathostomes. Lineage-specific expansions to small vtRNA gene clusters are frequently observed in this region. A second vtRNA locus is syntenically conserved across eutherian mammals. The vtRNAs at the two eutherian loci exhibit substantial differences in their promoter structures, explaining their differential expression patterns in several human cancer cell lines. In teleosts, expression of several paralogous vtRNA genes, most but not all located at the syntenically conserved protocadherin locus, was verified by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.