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RNA Biol. 2009 Nov-Dec;6(5):508-16. Epub 2009 Nov 7.

Kinship in the SRP RNA family.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.


The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a ribonucleoprotein complex which participates in the targeting of protein to cellular membranes. The RNA component of the SRP has been found in all domains of life, but the size of the molecule and the number of RNA secondary structure elements vary considerably between the different phylogenetic groups. We continued our efforts to identify new SRP RNAs, compare their sequences, discover new secondary structure elements, conserved motifs, and other properties. We found additional proof for the variability in the apical loop of helix 8, and we identified several bacteria which lack all of their SRP components. Based on the distribution of SRP RNA features within the taxonomy, we suggest seven alignment groups: Bacteria with a small (4.5S) SRP RNA, Bacteria with a large (6S) SRP RNA, Archaea, Fungi (Ascomycota), Metazoa group, Protozoa group, and Plants. The proposed divisions improve the prediction of more distantly related SRP RNAs and provide a more inclusive representation of the SRP RNA family. Updates of the Rfam SRP RNA sequence collection are expected to benefit from the suggested groupings.

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