The ribosome is one of the largest complexes in the cell. Adding to its complexity are more than 200 RNA modification sites present on ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) in a single human ribosome. These modifications occur in functionally important regions of the rRNA molecule, and they are vital for ribosome function and proper gene expression. Until recent technological advancements, the study of rRNA modifications and their profiles has been extremely laborious, leaving many questions unanswered. Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that facilitate and dictate the specificity of rRNA modification deposition, making them an attractive target for ribosome modulation. Here, we propose that through the mapping of rRNA modification profiles, we can identify cell-specific modifications with high therapeutic potential. We also describe the challenges of achieving the targeting specificity needed to implement snoRNAs as therapeutic targets in cancers.
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