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Plant Cell. 2011 Jan;23(1):258-72. doi: 10.1105/tpc.110.081414. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

A three-dimensional RNA motif in Potato spindle tuber viroid mediates trafficking from palisade mesophyll to spongy mesophyll in Nicotiana benthamiana.

Author information

  • 1Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

Abstract

Cell-to-cell trafficking of RNA is an emerging biological principle that integrates systemic gene regulation, viral infection, antiviral response, and cell-to-cell communication. A key mechanistic question is how an RNA is specifically selected for trafficking from one type of cell into another type. Here, we report the identification of an RNA motif in Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) required for trafficking from palisade mesophyll to spongy mesophyll in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. This motif, called loop 6, has the sequence 5'-CGA-3'...5'-GAC-3' flanked on both sides by cis Watson-Crick G/C and G/U wobble base pairs. We present a three-dimensional (3D) structural model of loop 6 that specifies all non-Watson-Crick base pair interactions, derived by isostericity-based sequence comparisons with 3D RNA motifs from the RNA x-ray crystal structure database. The model is supported by available chemical modification patterns, natural sequence conservation/variations in PSTVd isolates and related species, and functional characterization of all possible mutants for each of the loop 6 base pairs. Our findings and approaches have broad implications for studying the 3D RNA structural motifs mediating trafficking of diverse RNA species across specific cellular boundaries and for studying the structure-function relationships of RNA motifs in other biological processes.

PMID:
21258006
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3051236
Free PMC Article

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