Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that form ribonucleoproteins to guide covalent modifications of ribosomal and small nuclear RNAs in the nucleus. Recent studies have also uncovered additional non-canonical roles for snoRNAs. However, the physiological contributions of these small RNAs are largely unknown. Here, we selectively deleted four snoRNAs encoded within the introns of the ribosomal protein L13a (Rpl13a) locus in a mouse model. Loss of Rpl13a snoRNAs altered mitochondrial metabolism and lowered reactive oxygen species tone, leading to increased glucosestimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic islets and enhanced systemic glucose tolerance. Islets from mice lacking Rpl13a snoRNAs demonstrated blunted oxidative stress responses. Furthermore, these mice were protected against diabetogenic stimuli that cause oxidative stress damage to islets. Our study illuminates a previously unrecognized role for snoRNAs in metabolic regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4616-4625
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


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