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RNA. 2003 Dec;9(12):1516-31.

Identification of BHB splicing motifs in intron-containing tRNAs from 18 archaea: evolutionary implications.

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  • 1Service de Biochimie et de Génétique Moléculaire, CEA/Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France. christian.marck@cea.fr

Abstract

Most introns of archaeal tRNA genes (tDNAs) are located in the anticodon loop, between nucleotides 37 and 38, the unique location of their eukaryotic counterparts. However, in several Archaea, mostly in Crenarchaeota, introns have been found at many other positions of the tDNAs. In the present work, we revisit and extend all previous findings concerning the identification, exact location, size, and possible fit to the proposed bulge-helix-bulge structural motif (BHB, now renamed hBHBh') of the sequences spanning intron-exon junctions in intron-containing tRNAs of 18 archaea. A total of 103 introns were found located at the usual position 37/38 and 33 introns at 14 other different positions, that is, in the anticodon stem and loop, in the D-and T-loops, in the V-arm, or in the amino acid arm. For introns located at 37/38 and elsewhere in the pre-tRNA, canonical hBHBh' motifs were not always found. Instead, a relaxed hBH or HBh' motif including the constant central 4-bp helix H flanked by one helix (h or h') on either side generating only one bulge could be disclosed. Also, for introns located elsewhere than at position 37/38, the hBHBh' (or HBh') structure competes with the three-dimensional structure of the mature tRNA, attesting to important structural rearrangements during the complex multistep maturation-splicing processes. A homotetramer-type of splicing endonuclease (like in all Crenarchaeota) instead of a homodimeric-type of enzyme (as in most Euryarchaeota) appears to best fit the requirement for splicing introns at relaxed hBH or HBh' motifs, and may represent the most primitive form of this enzyme.

PMID:
14624007
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1370505
Free PMC Article

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