RNA Recognition and Cleavage by a Splicing Endonuclease

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Science  12 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5775, pp. 906-910
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126629

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The RNA splicing endonuclease cleaves two phosphodiester bonds within folded precursor RNAs during intron removal, producing the functional RNAs required for protein synthesis. Here we describe at a resolution of 2.85 angstroms the structure of a splicing endonuclease from Archaeglobus fulgidus bound with a bulge-helix-bulge RNA containing a noncleaved and a cleaved splice site. The endonuclease dimer cooperatively recognized a flipped-out bulge base and stabilizes sharply bent bulge backbones that are poised for an in-line RNA cleavage reaction. Cooperativity arises because an arginine pair from one catalytic domain sandwiches a nucleobase within the bulge cleaved by the other catalytic domain.

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