We report on the structural characterization of a functional U3 snoRNA ribonucleoprotein complex isolated from Brassica oleracea. The BoU3 snoRNP complex (formerly NF D) binds ribosomal DNA (rDNA), specifically cleaves pre-rRNA at the primary cleavage site in vitro and probably links transcription to early pre-rRNA processing in vivo. Using a proteomic approach we have identified 62 proteins in the purified BoU3 snoRNP fraction, including small RNA associated proteins (Fibrillarin, NOP5/Nop58p, Diskerin/Cbf5p, SUS2/PRP8 and CLO/GFA1/sn114p) and 40S ribosomal associated proteins (22 RPS and four ARCA-like proteins). Another major protein group is composed of chaperones/chaperonins (HSP81/TCP-1) and at least one proteasome subunit (RPN1a). Remarkably, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) and Tudor staphylococcal nuclease (TSN) proteins, which have RNA- and/or DNA-associated activities, were also revealed in the complex. Furthermore, three U3 snoRNA variants were identified in the BoU3 snoRNP fraction, notably an evolutionarily conserved and variable stem loop structure located just downstream from the C-box domain of the U3 sequence structures. We conclude that the BoU3 snoRNP complex is mainly required for 40S pre-ribosome synthesis. It is also expected that U3 snoRNA variants and interacting proteins might play a major role in BoU3 snoRNP complex assembly and/or function. This study provides a basis for further investigation of these novel ribonucleoprotein factors and their role in plant ribosome biogenesis.