Analysis of the complete genomic structure of the human ribosomal protein S3 (rpS3) gene revealed the presence of a functional U15b snoRNA gene in its intron. Human ribosomal protein S3 (rpS3) gene of 6115 bp long has been identified to contain six introns and seven exons in this study. The first and fifth introns of human S3 gene contain functional U15 snoRNA genes. Although Xenopus and Fugu counterparts also have six introns and seven exons, S3 gene of Fugu contains two functional U15 snoRNAs in the fourth and sixth introns and two pseudo genes for U15 snoRNAs in the first and fifth introns. In Xenopus S1 gene encoding ribosomal protein S3, however, three of its six introns contain U15 snoRNA gene sequence. Sequence comparison of the U15 genes from Xenopus, Fugu and human revealed that the regions involved in binding to 28S rRNA and the consensus sequence (C, D and D′ boxes) for snoRNAs are highly conserved among those genes from these three species. Human U15a and U15b RNAs which are derived from the first and the fifth introns, respectively, have been identified to be functional by microinjection of human U15a and U15b snoRNAs into Xenopus oocyte. Northern blot and primer extension analyses confirm that human U15b snoRNA is expressed in vivo.
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