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RNA Biol. 2008 Apr-Jun;5(2):104-11. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Effects of conserved D/T loop substitutions in the pre-tRNA substrate on tRNase Z catalysis.

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  • 1University of Michigan Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


tRNAs are transcribed as precursors with a 5' end leader and a 3' end trailer. In the course of tRNA maturation, RNase P removes the 5' end leader and tRNase Z can endonucleolytically remove the 3' end trailer. A domain remote from the active site of tRNase Z recognizes and binds substrate, principally through contacts with the elbow (D/T loops) of the tRNA. To evaluate possible contacts, processing kinetics was performed using human nuclear encoded pre-tRNA(Arg) with substitutions in conserved D and T loop nucleotides. Changes in K(M) observed with some of the substitutions suggest contacts between tRNase Z and substrate tRNA in this region, and changes in tRNA structure provide an additional basis for interpretation of the kinetic effects.

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