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Curr Biol. 1994 Jun 1;4(6):488-98.

A three-dimensional model of hepatitis delta virus ribozyme based on biochemical and mutational analyses.

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GENSET, Paris, France.



Hepatitis delta virus (HDV), which has a single-stranded RNA genome about 1700 nucleotides long, is a satellite virus of hepatitis B, and is associated with a high incidence of fulminant hepatitis and death in infected humans. Like certain pathogenic subviral RNAs that infect plants, HDV RNA features a closed-circular conformation, a rolling-circle mechanism of replication and RNA-catalyzed self-cleaving reactions of both genomic and anti-genomic strands in vitro. The catalytic domains cannot be folded into either the hammerhead or hairpin secondary-structure motifs that have been found in other self-cleaving RNAs.


A pseudoknot secondary-structure model has been suggested for the catalytic domain (ribozyme) of HDV RNA. We conducted extensive mutational analyses of regions of the HDV ribozyme predicted in this model to be single stranded, and found that several of them are important for catalytic activity. We used these data, sequence comparisons between different isolates and previously published structural analyses to produce a computer graphic model of the three-dimensional architecture of the HDV ribozyme.


Our model supports the pseudoknotted structure and rationalizes several observations relating to the lengths of the various stems and the sequence requirements of the single-stranded regions. It also provides insight into the catalytic mechanism of the HDV ribozyme. We specifically propose that residues C75, U20 and C21 form the basis of the catalytic region and are close to the cleavable phosphate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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