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Open Access Research article

Characterization of RNase MRP RNA and novel snoRNAs from Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis

Xiaowei S Chen1, David Penny2 and Lesley J Collins3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

2 Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

3 Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:550  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-550

Published: 6 November 2011



Eukaryotic cells possess a complex network of RNA machineries which function in RNA-processing and cellular regulation which includes transcription, translation, silencing, editing and epigenetic control. Studies of model organisms have shown that many ncRNAs of the RNA-infrastructure are highly conserved, but little is known from non-model protists. In this study we have conducted a genome-scale survey of medium-length ncRNAs from the protozoan parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis.


We have identified the previously 'missing' Giardia RNase MRP RNA, which is a key ribozyme involved in pre-rRNA processing. We have also uncovered 18 new H/ACA box snoRNAs, expanding our knowledge of the H/ACA family of snoRNAs.


Results indicate that Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis, like their distant multicellular relatives, contain a rich infrastructure of RNA-based processing. From here we can investigate the evolution of RNA processing networks in eukaryotes.