Research Article

Structural insight into precursor ribosomal RNA processing by ribonuclease MRP

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Science  25 Jun 2020:
eabc0149
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc0149

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Abstract

Ribonuclease (RNase) MRP is a conserved eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein complex that plays essential roles in pre-ribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) processing and cell cycle regulation. In contrast to RNase P, which selectively cleaves tRNA-like substrates, it has remained a mystery how RNase MRP recognizes its diverse substrates. To address this question, we determined cryo-EM structures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNase MRP alone and in complex with a fragment of pre-rRNA. These structures combined with biochemical studies reveal that co-evolution of both protein and RNA subunits has transformed RNase MRP into a distinct ribonuclease that processes single-stranded RNAs by recognizing a short, loosely-defined consensus sequence. This broad substrate specificity suggests that RNase MRP may have myriad yet unrecognized substrates that could play important roles in various cellular contexts.

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