National Center for
3VRS: Crystal Structure Of Fluoride Riboswitch, Soaked In Mn2+
Nature (2012) 486 p.85-89
Significant advances in our understanding of RNA architecture, folding and recognition have emerged from structure-function studies on riboswitches, non-coding RNAs whose sensing domains bind small ligands and whose adjacent expression platforms contain RNA elements involved in the control of gene regulation. We now report on the ligand-bound structure of the Thermotoga petrophila fluoride riboswitch, which adopts a higher-order RNA architecture stabilized by pseudoknot and long-range reversed Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen A*U pair formation. The bound fluoride ion is encapsulated within the junctional architecture, anchored in place through direct coordination to three Mg(2+) ions, which in turn are octahedrally coordinated to water molecules and five inwardly pointing backbone phosphates. Our structure of the fluoride riboswitch in the bound state shows how RNA can form a binding pocket selective for fluoride, while discriminating against larger halide ions. The T. petrophila fluoride riboswitch probably functions in gene regulation through a transcription termination mechanism.