E1/U17 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) is a box H/ACA snoRNA. To identify E1 RNA elements required for its assembly into a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particle, we have made substitution mutations in evolutionarily conserved sequences and structures of frog E1 RNA. After E1 RNA was injected into the nucleus of frog oocytes, assembly of this exogenous RNA into an RNP was monitored by non-denaturing gel electrophoresis. Unexpectedly, nucleotide substitutions in many phylogenetically conserved segments of E1 RNA produced RNPs with abnormal gel-electrophoresis patterns. These RNA segments were at least nine conserved sequences and an apparently conserved structure. In another region needed for RNP formation, the requirement may be sequence(s) and/or structure. Base substitutions in each of these and in one additional conserved E1 RNA segment reduced the stability of this snoRNA in frog oocytes. Nucleolar localization was assayed by fluorescence microscopy after injection of fluorescein-labelled RNA. The H box (ANANNA) and the ACA box are both needed for efficient nucleolar localization of frog E1 RNA.

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