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RNA. 2006 Oct;12(10):1846-52. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Extraordinary rates of transition metal ion-mediated ribozyme catalysis.

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Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


In pre-steady-state, fast-quench kinetic analysis, the tertiary-stabilized hammerhead ribozyme "RzB" cleaves its substrate RNA with maximal measured k (obs) values of approximately 3000 min(-1) in 1 mM Mn(2+) and approximately 780 min(-1) in 1 mM Mg(2+) at 37 degrees C (pH 7.4). Apparent pKa for the catalytic general base is approximately 7.8-8.5, independent of the corresponding metal hydrate pKa, suggesting potential involvement of a nucleobase as general base as suggested previously from nucleobase substitution studies. The pH-rate profile is bell-shaped for Cd(2+), for which the general catalytic acid has a pKa of 7.3 +/- 0.1. Simulations of the pH-rate relation suggest a pKa for the general catalytic acid to be approximately 9.5 in Mn(2+) and >9.5 in Mg(2+). The acid pKa's follow the trend in the pKa of the hydrated metal ions but are displaced by approximately 1-2 pH units in the presence of Cd(2+) and Mn(2+). One possible explanation for this trend is direct metal ion coordination with a nucleobase, which then acts as general acid.

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