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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1974 Dec;71(12):4970-4.

The general structure of transfer RNA molecules.


The three-dimensional structure of yeast phenylalanine tRNA serves as a useful basis for understanding the tertiary structure of all tRNAs. A large number of tRNA sequences have been surveyed and some general conclusions are drawn. There are only a few regions in the molecule in which there are differences in the number of nucleotides; and the structure of yeast phenylalanine tRNA can accommodate these differences by forming or enlarging protuberances on the surface of the basic framework molecule. The nature and distribution of the differences in number of nucleotides are surveyed and possible hydrogen bonding interactions are discussed for a number of tRNA classes. The two most significant features of the molecule are the large number of stacking interactions which are seen to include most of the nucleotides in the molecule and the system of specific hydrogen bonding interactions. It is likely that these stabilizing elements are preserved in all tRNA structures.

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