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Coaxially Stacked RNA Helices in the Catalytic Center of the Tetrahymena Ribozyme

Felicia L. Murphy, Yuh-Hwa Wang, Jack D. Griffith and Thomas R. Cech
Science
New Series, Vol. 265, No. 5179 (Sep. 16, 1994), pp. 1709-1712
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2884615
Page Count: 4
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Coaxially Stacked RNA Helices in the Catalytic Center of the Tetrahymena Ribozyme
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Abstract

Coaxial stacking of helical elements is a determinant of three-dimensional structure in RNA. In the catalytic center of the Tetrahymena group I intron, helices P4 and P6 are part of a tertiary structural domain that folds independently of the remainder of the intron. When P4 and P6 were fused with a phosphodiester linkage, the resulting RNA retained the detailed tertiary interactions characteristic of the native P4-P6 domain and even required lower magnesium ion concentrations for folding. These results indicate that P4 and P6 are coaxial in the P4-P6 domain and, therefore, in the native ribozyme. Helix fusion could provide a general method for identifying pairs of coaxially stacked helices in biological RNA molecules.

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