The small nucleolar ribonucleoprotein particles containing H/ACA-type snoRNAs (H/ACA snoRNPs) are crucial trans-acting factors intervening in eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis. Most of these particles generate the site-specific pseudouridylation of rRNAs while a subset are required for 18S rRNA synthesis. To understand in detail how these particles carry out these functions, all of their protein components have to be characterized. For that purpose, we have affinity-purified complexes containing epitope-tagged Gar1p protein, previously shown to be part of H/ACA snoRNPs. Under the conditions used, three polypeptides of 65, 22 and 10 kDa apparent molecular weight specifically copurify with epitope-tagged Gar1p. The 22 and 10 kDa polypeptides were identified as Nhp2p and a novel protein we termed Nop10p, respectively. Both proteins are conserved, essential and present in the dense fibrillar component of the nucleolus. Nhp2p and Nop10p are specifically associated with all H/ACA snoRNAs and are essential to the function of H/ACA snoRNPs. Cells lacking Nhp2p or Nop10p are impaired in global rRNA pseudouridylation and in the A1 and A2 cleavage steps of the pre-rRNA required for the synthesis of mature 18S rRNA. These phenotypes are probably a direct consequence of the instability of H/ACA snoRNAs and Gar1p observed in cells deprived of Nhp2p or Nop10p. Our results suggest that Nhp2p and Nop10p, together with Cbf5p, constitute the core of H/ACA snoRNPs.
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