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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2006 Jun;13(6):517-23. Epub 2006 May 14.

Backbone and nucleobase contacts to glucosamine-6-phosphate in the glmS ribozyme.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68178, USA.


The glmS ribozyme resides in the 5' untranslated region of glmS mRNA and functions as a catalytic riboswitch that regulates amino sugar metabolism in certain Gram-positive bacteria. The ribozyme catalyzes self-cleavage of the mRNA and ultimately inhibits gene expression in response to binding of glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P), the metabolic product of the GlmS protein. We have used nucleotide analog interference mapping (NAIM) and suppression (NAIS) to investigate backbone and nucleobase functional groups essential for ligand-dependent ribozyme function. NAIM using GlcN6P as ligand identified requisite structural features and potential sites of ligand and/or metal ion interaction, whereas NAIS using glucosamine as ligand analog revealed those sites that orchestrate recognition of ligand phosphate. These studies demonstrate that the ligand-binding site lies in close proximity to the cleavage site in an emerging model of ribozyme structure that supports a role for ligand within the catalytic core.

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