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J Mol Biol. 1997 Apr 4;267(3):520-36.

Multiple tertiary interactions involving domain II of group II self-splicing introns.

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1
Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Abstract

The ribozyme core of group II introns is organized into six domains of secondary structure. Of these, domain II was long thought to be relatively unimportant for group II self-splicing. However, we now demonstrate the existence, in both major subdivisions of the group II family, of essential tertiary interactions involving domain II. theta-theta' is a novel tertiary interaction between the terminal loop of the IC1 stem of domain I and the basal stem of domain II. The theta-theta' interaction appears to stabilize the group II ribozyme core: it is essential for efficient self-splicing at elevated temperatures but, as shown by the use of a bimolecular reaction system, molecules with a defective theta-theta' contact are not affected in catalysis. An interaction, eta-eta', between domains II and VI of subgroup IIB introns was recently reported to mediate a conformational rearrangement between the two steps of the self-splicing reaction. We now show that domains II and VI of subgroup IIA introns also contact each other, although in a somewhat different way. Reinforcement of the eta-eta' interaction of a subgroup IIA intron prevents the use of a specific 2'-hydroxyl group in domain VI to initiate splicing by transesterification at the 5' splice site; the 5' intron-exon junction is hydrolyzed instead. Since disruption of eta-eta' has exactly opposite effects, and promotes reversal of the first transesterification step, it is concluded that formation of eta-eta' mediates a conformational change in subgroup IIA introns as well. Just like the eta-eta' interaction of subgroup IIB introns, the eta-eta' interaction of subgroup IIA introns (and the theta-theta' interaction) involves terminal loops of the GNRA family and their RNA receptors. Therefore, these motifs are used by nature not only to stabilize three-dimensional RNA architectures, but also in situations that require dynamic interactions.

PMID:
9126835
DOI:
10.1006/jmbi.1996.0882
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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