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Biochemistry. 1995 Mar 21;34(11):3621-31.

Secondary structures of Escherichia coli antisense micF RNA, the 5'-end of the target ompF mRNA, and the RNA/RNA duplex.

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Graduate Program in Genetics, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794.


The Escherichia coli micF RNA is a prototype for a class of antisense RNAs encoded by genes at different loci from those that code for their target RNAs. RNAs in this class exhibit only partial complementarity to their targets. micF RNA binds to and regulates the stability of ompF mRNA in response to a variety of environmental stimuli. The secondary structures of micF RNA, ompF-213 mRNA (a segment containing the 213 nucleotides at the 5'-terminus of the target message), and the micF RNA/ompF-213 mRNA duplex were analyzed in vitro by partial digestion with structure-specific ribonucleases and chemical modification. Both micF RNA and ompF mRNA have single-stranded 5'-ends and contain stable stem-loop structures. Strong phylogenetic support for the proposed secondary structure for E. coli micF RNA is provided by a comparison of structural models derived from micF sequences from related bacteria. The micF RNA/ompF-213 mRNA duplex interaction appears to involve only a short segment of micF RNA. Unfolding of only one stem-loop of micF RNA and a minor stem-loop of ompF-213 mRNA appears to be necessary to form the duplex. The probing data suggest that the Shine-Dalgarno sequence and AUG start codon of ompF mRNA, found in single-stranded regions in the free message, are base-paired to micF RNA in the RNA/RNA duplex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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