Changes in snoRNA and snRNA Abundance in the Human, Chimpanzee, Macaque, and Mouse Brain Academic Article uri icon


  • Small nuclear and nucleolar RNAs (snRNAs and snoRNAs) are known to be functionally and evolutionarily conserved elements of transcript processing machinery. Here, we investigated the expression evolution of snRNAs and snoRNAs by measuring their abundance in the frontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, and mice. Although snRNA expression is largely conserved, 44% of the 185 measured snoRNA and 40% of the 134 snoRNA families showed significant expression divergence among species. The snRNA and snoRNA expression divergence included drastic changes unique to humans: A 10-fold elevated expression ofU1snRNA and a 1,000-fold drop in expression ofSNORA29 The decreased expression ofSNORA29might be due to two mutations that affect secondary structure stability. Using in situ hybridization, we further localizedSNORA29expression to nucleolar regions of neuronal cells. Our study presents the first observation of snoRNA abundance changes specific to the human lineage and suggests a possible mechanism underlying these changes.


  • Zhang, B
  • Han, D
  • Korostelev, Y
  • Yan, Z
  • Shao, N
  • Khrameeva, E
  • Velichkovsky, BM
  • Chen, Y-PP
  • Gelfand, MS
  • Khaitovich, P

publication date

  • 2016