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J Mol Biol. 2004 Apr 16;338(1):7-16.

Argininamide binding arrests global motions in HIV-1 TAR RNA: comparison with Mg2+-induced conformational stabilization.

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


The structure and dynamics of the stem-loop transactivation response element (TAR) RNA from the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) bound to the ligand argininamide (ARG) has been characterized using a combination of a large number of residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) and trans-hydrogen bond NMR methodology. Binding of ARG to TAR changes the average inter-helical angle between the two stems from approximately 47 degrees in the free state to approximately 11 degrees in the bound state, and leads to the arrest of large amplitude (+/-46 degrees ) inter-helical motions observed previously in the free state. While the global structural dynamics of TAR-ARG is similar to that previously reported for TAR bound to Mg2+, there are substantial differences in the hydrogen bond alignment of bulge and neighboring residues. Based on a novel H5(C5)NN experiment for probing hydrogen-mediated 2hJ(N,N) scalar couplings as well as measured RDCs, the TAR-ARG complex is stabilized by a U38-A27.U23 base-triple involving an A27.U23 reverse Hoogsteen hydrogen bond alignment as well as by a A22-U40 Watson-Crick base-pair at the junction of stem I. These hydrogen bond alignments are not observed in either the free or Mg2+ bound forms of TAR. The combined conformational analysis of TAR under three states reveals that ligands and divalent ions can stabilize similar RNA global conformations through distinct interactions involving different hydrogen bond alignments in the RNA.

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