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J Biomol Struct Dyn. 1983 Oct;1(2):337-55.

Loop stereochemistry and dynamics in transfer RNA.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Strasbourg, France.


The stereochemistry and the dynamics of two loops of yeast tRNA-asp, the thymine loop and the anticodon loop, are compared in the hope of a better understanding of the relationships between loop sequence and loop topology. Both loops are seven residues long and both present sharp turns after the second residue, U33 and psi 55, stabilized by hydrogen bonds between N3-H of the pyrimidine and the phosphates of C36 and A58 and stacking interactions of the pyrimidine ring with the phosphates of U35 and A57, respectively. In the thymine loop, the two purines following C56, A57 and A58, open up to leave space for the intercalation of the first invariant guanine residue of the D-loop, while the two pyrimidine bases, which follow A58, turn away from the stacking pattern of the thymine arm and stack instead with the last base pair of the dihydrouridine arm A15-U48. In the anticodon loop, however, the bases G34 to C38 form an helical stack in continuity with the anticodon stem on the 3'-end. At the same time C36 forms Watson-Crick hydrogen bonds with G34 of a twofold symmetrically related molecule. The anticodon-anticodon base pairing interactions between symmetrically-related molecules are stabilized by stacking with the modified base G37 on both sides of the triplet. Some comparisons are made with the structure of yeast tRNA-phe and some implications about the structure of mitochondrial tRNAs are discussed.

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