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EMBO J. 1995 Jul 17;14(14):3572-84.

Structure of the dsRNA binding domain of E. coli RNase III.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


The double-stranded RNA binding domain (dsRBD) is a approximately 70 residue motif found in a variety of modular proteins exhibiting diverse functions, yet always in association with dsRNA. We report here the structure of the dsRBD from RNase III, an enzyme present in most, perhaps all, living cells. It is involved in processing transcripts, such as rRNA precursors, by cleavage at short hairpin sequences. The RNase III protein consists of two modules, a approximately 150 residue N-terminal catalytic domain and a approximately 70 residue C-terminal recognition module, homologous with other dsRBDs. The structure of the dsRBD expressed in Escherichia coli has been investigated by homonuclear NMR techniques and solved with the aid of a novel calculation strategy. It was found to have an alpha-beta-beta-beta-alpha topology in which a three-stranded anti-parallel beta-sheet packs on one side against the two helices. Examination of 44 aligned dsRBD sequences reveals several conserved, positively charged residues. These residues map to the N-terminus of the second helix and a nearby loop, leading to a model for the possible contacts between the domain and dsRNA.

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