A physical interaction between Gar1p and Rnt1pi is required for the nuclear import of H/ACA small nucleolar RNA-associated proteins.
During rRNA biogenesis, multiple RNA and protein substrates are modified and assembled through the coordinated activity of many factors. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the double-stranded RNA nuclease Rnt1p and the H/ACA snoRNA pseudouridylase complex participate in the transformation of the nascent pre-rRNA transcript into 35S pre-rRNA. Here we demonstrate the binding of a component of the H/ACA complex (Gar1p) to Rnt1p in vivo and in vitro in the absence of other factors. In vitro, Rnt1p binding to Gar1p is mutually exclusive of its RNA binding and cleavage activities. Mutations in Rnt1p that disrupt Gar1p binding do not inhibit RNA cleavage in vitro but slow RNA processing, prevent nucleolar localization of H/ACA snoRNA-associated proteins, and reduce pre-rRNA pseudouridylation in vivo. These results demonstrate colocalization of various components of the rRNA maturation complex and suggest a mechanism that links rRNA pseudouridylation and cleavage factors.