RNA Tertiary Structure Mediation by Adenosine Platforms

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Science  20 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5282, pp. 1696-1699
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5282.1696


The crystal structure of a group I intron domain reveals an unexpected motif that mediates both intra- and intermolecular interactions. At three separate locations in the 160-nucleotide domain, adjacent adenosines in the sequence lie side-by-side and form a pseudo-base pair within a helix. This adenosine platform opens the minor groove for base stacking or base pairing with nucleotides from a noncontiguous RNA strand. The platform motif has a distinctive chemical modification signature that may enable its detection in other structured RNAs. The ability of this motif to facilitate higher order folding provides oneexplanation for the abundance of adenosine residues in internal loops of many RNAs.

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