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Biochemistry. 1996 Oct 8;35(40):13250-66.

RNA folding topology and intermolecular contacts in the AMP-RNA aptamer complex.

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  • 1Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


We report below on the NMR structural characterization of the complex between AMP and a 40-mer RNA aptamer in aqueous solution. Resonance assignments are based on multinuclear multidimensional NMR studies on complexes uniformly 13C, 15N-labeled with either AMP or the RNA aptamer. AMP binds to an internal loop (labeled G7-G8-A9-A10-G11-A12-A13-A14-C15-U16-G17) and bulge (G34 positioned opposite the internal loop) segment in the RNA aptamer, and our NMR study provides insights into features of the RNA folding topology and the molecular recognition events in the AMP binding pocket on the RNA. Specifically, the helical stems are extended by G-G mismatch formation from either direction into the internal loop/bulge segment of the RNA aptamer on complex formation. The internal loop adopts a unique fold with the purine ring of AMP intercalated between A10 and G11 in the complex. The G8-A9-A10-AMP segment adopts certain stacking features in common with a GNRA turn and is closed by the G7.G11 mismatch pair. The purine rings of A12 and G34 (syn) are stacked on each other and participate in stablizing the AMP intercalation site. A large number of intermolecular NOEs have been identified between the AMP ligand and the G8, A10, G11, G17, U18, and G34 residues on the RNA aptamer in the complex. The Watson-Crick edge of the AMP is oriented toward the exocyclic amino group of G8, suggestive of a hydrogen-bonding alignment between G8 and AMP in the complex. The AMP sugar ring is positioned in the minor groove of the rightward helical stem centered about the G17.G34 mismatch and U18.A33 Watson-Crick pairs. The AMP binds to one face of the folded internal loop/bulge segment of the RNA aptamer while the opposite face is capped by a stacked alignment of the A13-A14-C15-U16 segment located toward the 3'-end of the internal loop segment. Globally, the two helical stems of the RNA aptamer are aligned approximately orthogonal to each other with tertiary interactions centered about the internal loop/bulge segment generating the AMP binding site on the RNA.

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