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RNA. 1999 Mar;5(3):434-45.

An engineered class I transfer RNA with a class II tertiary fold.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California at Santa Barbara 93106-9510, USA.


Structure-based engineering of the tertiary fold of Escherichia coli tRNA(Gln)2 has enabled conversion of this transfer RNA to a class II structure while retaining recognition properties of a class I glutamine tRNA. The new tRNA possesses the 20-nt variable stem-loop of Thermus thermophilus tRNA(Ser). Enlargement of the D-loop appears essential to maintaining a stable tertiary structure in this species, while rearrangement of a base triple in the augmented D-stem is critical for efficient glutaminylation. These data provide new insight into structural determinants distinguishing the class I and class II tRNA folds, and demonstrate a marked sensitivity of glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase to alteration of tRNA tertiary structure.

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