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Evolution of Vault RNAs

  1. Axel Mosig1,2,
  2. Peter F Stadler3,4,5,6,7

Published Online: 15 FEB 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0022883



How to Cite

Mosig, A. and Stadler, P. F. 2011. Evolution of Vault RNAs. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Shanghai, China

  2. 2

    Ruhr Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Biophysik, Bochum, Germany

  3. 3

    Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

  4. 4

    University of Leipzig, Bioinformatics Group, Department of Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioinformatics, Leipzig, Germany

  5. 5

    Fraunhofer Institut für Zelltherapie und Immunologie, Leipzig, Germany

  6. 6

    University of Vienna, Department of Theoretical Chemistry, Wien, Austria

  7. 7

    Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 FEB 2011


Vault ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are small, about 100 nt long, polymerase transcripts contained in the vault particles of eukaryotic cells. Although vaults are present in many but by no means all eukaryotes, an RNA component has been described in metazoa only. The RNAs exhibit conserved regions at the 3′ and 5′ ends containing also internal promoter elements. They form a panhandle-like well-conserved secondary structure. Most genomes contain only one or a small number of closely related vault RNA sequences. Only eutheria exhibit two clearly distinguished paralogues at syntenically conserved genomic locations. Their phylogenetic distribution is characterised by losses in major clades, whereas lophotrochozoa have vault particles and vault RNAs, and the entire system has been deleted in all ecdysozoa.

Key Concepts:

  • Vault RNA can be traced evolutionarily along with the vault particle and its key protein components, most notably MVP.

  • Vault RNA exhibits a concserved pan-handle secondary structure and expression patterns that are often mistaken as a microRNA.


  • RNA secondary structure;
  • animal genomes;
  • polymerase III transcripts