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Cell. 1978 Mar;13(3):551-63.

Conservation of the primary structure at the 3' end of 18S rRNA from eucaryotic cells.


DNA sequencing methods have been used to determine a sequence of about 20 nucleotides at the 3' termini of various 18S (small ribosomal subunit) RNA molecules. Polyadenylated rRNA was first synthesized using the enzyme ATP:polynucleotidyl transferase from mainze. Then in the presence of an oligonucleotide primer uniquely complementary to the end of each adenylated rRNA, a cDNA copy was produced using AMV reverse transcriptase. In every case, the cDNA transcript was of finite size, which we ascribe to the appearance of an oligonucleotide containing m62A near the 3' end of the 18S rRNAs. Sequences at the 3' termini of 18S rRNA molecules from the four eucaryotic species examined here (mouse, silk worm, wheat embryo and slime mold) are highly conserved. They also exhibit strong homology to the 3' end of E. coli 16S rRNA. Two important differences, however, are apparent. First, the 16S sequence CCUCC, implicated in mRNA binding by E. coli ribosomes, is absent from each eucaryotic rRNA sequence. Second, a purine-rich region which exhibits extensive complementarity to the 5' noncoding regions of many eucaryotic mRNAs appears consistently.

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