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Solution Structure of Domain 6 from a Self-Splicing Group II Intron Ribozyme: A Mg2+ Binding Site is Located Close to the Stacked Branch Adenosine


Erat, M C; Zerbe, O; Fox, T; Sigel, Roland K O (2007). Solution Structure of Domain 6 from a Self-Splicing Group II Intron Ribozyme: A Mg2+ Binding Site is Located Close to the Stacked Branch Adenosine. Chembiochem, 8(3):306-314.

Abstract

Group II intron self-splicing is essential for correct expression of organellar genes in plants, fungi, and yeast, as well as of bacterial genes. Self-excision of these autocatalytic introns from the primary RNA transcript is achieved in a two-step mechanism apparently analogous to the one of the eukaryotic spliceosome. The 2'-OH of a conserved adenosine (the branch point) located within domain 6 (D6) acts as the nucleophile in the first step of splicing. Despite the biological importance of group II introns, little is known about their structural organization and usage of metal ions in catalysis. Here we report the first solution structure of a catalytically active D6 construct encompassing the branch point and the neighboring helical regions from the mitochondrial yeast intron ai5. The branch adenosine is the single unpaired nucleotide, and, in contrast to the spliceosomal branch site, resides within the helix being partially stacked between the two flanking GU wobble pairs. We identified a novel prominent Mg2+ binding site in the major groove of the branch site. Importantly, Mg2+ addition does not impair stacking of the branch-adenosine, but in contrast rather strengthens the interaction with the flanking uridines, as shown by NMR- and fluorescence studies. This means, that domain 6 presents the branch adenosine in a stacked fashion to the core of group II introns upon folding to the active conformation.

Abstract

Group II intron self-splicing is essential for correct expression of organellar genes in plants, fungi, and yeast, as well as of bacterial genes. Self-excision of these autocatalytic introns from the primary RNA transcript is achieved in a two-step mechanism apparently analogous to the one of the eukaryotic spliceosome. The 2'-OH of a conserved adenosine (the branch point) located within domain 6 (D6) acts as the nucleophile in the first step of splicing. Despite the biological importance of group II introns, little is known about their structural organization and usage of metal ions in catalysis. Here we report the first solution structure of a catalytically active D6 construct encompassing the branch point and the neighboring helical regions from the mitochondrial yeast intron ai5. The branch adenosine is the single unpaired nucleotide, and, in contrast to the spliceosomal branch site, resides within the helix being partially stacked between the two flanking GU wobble pairs. We identified a novel prominent Mg2+ binding site in the major groove of the branch site. Importantly, Mg2+ addition does not impair stacking of the branch-adenosine, but in contrast rather strengthens the interaction with the flanking uridines, as shown by NMR- and fluorescence studies. This means, that domain 6 presents the branch adenosine in a stacked fashion to the core of group II introns upon folding to the active conformation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:12 February 2007
Deposited On:08 Aug 2013 07:33
Last Modified:18 May 2017 08:03
Publisher:Wiley-VCH Verlag Berlin
ISSN:1439-4227
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/cbic.200600459

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