Three-Dimensional Structure of Yeast Phenylalanine Transfer RNA: Folding of the Polynucleotide Chain

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Science  19 Jan 1973:
Vol. 179, Issue 4070, pp. 285-288
DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4070.285


At 4 Å resolution the polynucleotides in yeast phenylalanine transfer RNA are seen in a series of electron dense masses about 5.8 Å apart. These peaks are probably associated with the phosphate groups, while lower levels of electron density between segments of adjacent polynucleotide chains are interpreted as arising from hydrogen-bonded purine-pyrimidine base pairs. It is possible to trace the entire polynucleotide chain with only two minor regions of ambiguity. The polynucleotide chain has a secondary structure consistent with the cloverleaf conformation; however, its folding is different from that proposed in any model. The molecule is made of two double-stranded helical regions oriented at right angles to each other in the shape of an L. One end of the L has the CCA acceptor; the anticodon loop is at the other end, and the dihydrouridine and TψC loops form the corner.