Single-stranded RNAs (ssRNAs) are ubiquitous RNA elements that serve diverse functional roles. Much of our understanding of ssRNA conformational behavior is limited to structures in which ssRNA directly engages in tertiary interactions or is recognized by proteins. Little is known about the structural and dynamic behavior of free ssRNAs at atomic resolution. Here, we report the collaborative application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations to characterize the 12 nt ssRNA tail derived from the prequeuosine riboswitch. NMR carbon spin relaxation data and residual dipolar coupling measurements reveal a flexible yet stacked core adopting an A-form-like conformation, with the level of order decreasing toward the terminal ends. An A-to-C mutation within the polyadenine tract alters the observed dynamics consistent with the introduction of a dynamic kink. Pre-ordering of the tail may increase the efficacy of ligand binding above that achieved by a random-coil ssRNA. The REMD simulations recapitulate important trends in the NMR data, but suggest more internal motions than inferred from the NMR analysis. Our study unmasks a previously unappreciated level of complexity in ssRNA, which we believe will also serve as an excellent model system for testing and developing computational force fields.
Eichhorn, Catherine D.; Feng, Jun; Suddala, Krishna C.; Walter, Nils G.; Brooks, Charles L.; Al-Hashimi, Hashim M.
Bacterial heat-labile (LT) enterotoxins signal through tightly regulated interactions with host cell gangliosides. LT-IIa and LT-IIb of Escherichia coli bind preferentially to gangliosides with a NeuAcα2-3Galβ1-3GalNAc terminus, with key distinctions in specificity. LT-IIc, a newly discove ... mehr
Phosphate deficiency is characteristic for many natural habitats, resulting in different physiological responses in plants and bacteria including the replacement of phospholipids by glycolipids and other phosphorous-free lipids. The plant pathogenic bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, whi ... mehr
A tryptophan side chain was introduced into subsite +1 of family GH-18 (class V) chitinases from Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana (NtChiV and AtChiC, respectively) by the mutation of a glycine residue to tryptophan (G74W-NtChiV and G75W-AtChiC). The specific activity toward glyco ... mehr