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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2125-9.

Ribosome binding of DNA analogs of tRNA requires base modifications and supports the "extended anticodon".

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7622.


The efficiency of translation depends on correct tRNA-ribosome interactions. The ability of chemically synthesized yeast tRNA(Phe) anticodon domains to effectively inhibit the binding of native yeast tRNA(Phe) to poly(U)-programmed Escherichia coli 30S ribosomal subunits was dependent on a Mg(2+)-stabilized stem and an open anticodon loop, both facilitated by base modifications. Analysis of tRNA sequences has revealed that base modifications which negate canonical hydrogen bonding are found in 95% of those tRNA anticodon loop sequences with the potential to form two Watson-Crick base pairs across the loop. Therefore, we postulated that a stable anticodon stem and an open loop are prerequisites for ribosome binding. To test this hypothesis, DNA analogs of the yeast tRNA(Phe) anticodon domain were designed to have modification-induced, Mg(2+)-stabilized stems and open loops. The unmodified DNA analog neither bound to poly(U)-programmed 30S ribosomal subunits nor inhibited the binding of native tRNA(Phe). However, specifically modified DNA analogs did bind to ribosomal subunits and effectively inhibited tRNA(Phe) from binding. Thus, modification-dependent Mg(2+)-stabilized anticodon domain structures with open loops have evolved as the preferred anticodon conformations for ribosome binding.

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