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Biochemistry. 1992 Feb 4;31(4):1040-6.

Conformational rigidity of specific pyrimidine residues in tRNA arises from posttranscriptional modifications that enhance steric interaction between the base and the 2'-hydroxyl group.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.


In order to elucidate roles of the 2'-O-methylation of pyrimidine nucleotide residues of tRNAs, conformations of 2'-O-methyluridylyl(3'----5')uridine (UmpU), 2'-O-methyluridine 3'-monophosphate (Ump), and 2'-O-methyluridine (Um) in 2H2O solution were analyzed by one- and two-dimensional proton NMR spectroscopy and compared with those of related nucleotides and nucleoside. As for UpU and UmpU, the 2'-O-methylation was found to stabilize the C3'-endo form of the 3'-nucleotidyl unit (Up-/Ump-moiety). This stabilization of the C3'-endo form is primarily due to an intraresidue effect, since the conformation of the 5'-nucleotidyl unit (-pU moiety) was only slightly affected by the 2'-O-methylation of the 3'-nucleotide unit. In fact even for Up and Ump, the 2'-O-methylation significantly stabilizes the C3'-endo form by 0.8 kcal/.mol-1. By contrast, for nucleosides (U and Um), the C3'-endo form is slightly stabilized by 0.1 kcal/.mol-1. Accordingly, the stabilization of the C3'-endo form by the 2'-O-methylation is primarily due to the steric repulsion among the 2-carbonyl group, the 2'-O-methyl group and the 3'-phosphate group in the C2'-endo form. For some tRNA species, 2-thiolation of pyrimidine residues is found in positions where the 2'-O-methylation is found for other tRNA species.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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