Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are conserved noncoding RNAs best studied as ribonucleoprotein (RNP) guides in RNA modification. To explore their role in cancer, we compared 5,473 tumor-normal genome pairs to identify snoRNAs with frequent copy number loss. The SNORD50A-SNORD50B snoRNA locus was deleted in 10-40% of 12 common cancers, where its loss was associated with reduced survival. A human protein microarray screen identified direct SNORD50A and SNORD50B RNA binding to K-Ras. Loss of SNORD50A and SNORD50B increased the amount of GTP-bound, active K-Ras and hyperactivated Ras-ERK1/ERK2 signaling. Loss of these snoRNAs also increased binding by farnesyltransferase to K-Ras and increased K-Ras prenylation, suggesting that KRAS mutation might synergize with SNORD50A and SNORD50B loss in cancer. In agreement with this hypothesis, CRISPR-mediated deletion of SNORD50A and SNORD50B in KRAS-mutant tumor cells enhanced tumorigenesis, and SNORD50A and SNORD50B deletion and oncogenic KRAS mutation co-occurred significantly in multiple human tumor types. SNORD50A and SNORD50B snoRNAs thus directly bind and inhibit K-Ras and are recurrently deleted in human cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ng.3452
View details for PubMedID 26595770