The synthesis, isolation, and characterization of a new photo-cross-linking uridine 5'-triphosphate analogue are described. This nucleotide analogue, 5-[(4-azidophenacyl)thio]uridine 5'-triphosphate (5-APAS-UTP), contains an aryl azide group approximately 10 A from the uridine ring. The azide is photoactivated by irradiation at 300 nm, resulting in covalent attachment of the nucleotide to adjacent molecules. The nucleotide can be desulfurated with Raney nickel to cause molecular cleavage between the base and the aryl azide. Desulfuration yields uridine 5'-triphosphate and p-azidoacetophenone. If the analogue is cross-linked to another molecule, desulfuration leaves the analogue's acetophenone group attached to that molecule. This effectively leaves behind a molecular tag on molecules that interact with the uridine analogue either as monomeric nucleotide or as part of an RNA molecule. This nucleotide analogue can be incorporated into internal positions in RNA by transcription in vitro with Escherichia coli RNA polymerase. It can therefore be used to examine interactions between RNA and other molecules (e.g., proteins or nucleic acids). Because the sulfur atom can be selectively removed, the covalent bonds formed between analogue-containing RNA and other molecules can be cleaved, when desired, to facilitate identification of the cross-linked molecules and RNA nucleotides in the cross-linked complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have used a self-cleaving RNA molecule related to a subsequence of plant viroids (a "hammerhead") to study the length-dependent folding of RNA produced during transcription by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase. Transcript elongation is arrested at defined positions using chain-terminating ribonucleoside triphosphate analogues (3'-deoxyNTP's or 3'-O-methylNTP's). When the transcript can form the "hammerhead" structure it self-cleaves to give a truncated product. The experiment yields an RNA sequencing ladder which terminates at the length at which cleavage becomes possible; the sequencing ladder is compared to those generated by using a noncleaving transcript or by using [alpha-thio]ATP in place of ATP. We have shown that 15-18 nucleotides (nt) of RNA past the cleavage point must be synthesized before the transcript can self-cleave within a ternary complex, whereas RNA freed from the complex by heating can cleave with only 3 or more nt present beyond the cleavage point. There are sequence-dependent as well as length-dependent effects. The results suggest that 12 +/- 1 nt are sequestered within the ternary complex and are consistent with the presence of a DNA-RNA hybrid within the transcription bubble, as proposed by others. The results indicate that the "hammerhead" structure does not disrupt the hybrid. It appears that the RNA beyond the hybrid is not restrained by interactions with the enzyme, since the last stem of the self-cleaving structure forms as soon as the RNA composing it emerges from the DNA-RNA hybrid. Self-cleaving of the transcript offers a simple structural probe for studying less well-characterized transcription complexes. The relevance of the results to models for transcription termination is discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have used photocrosslinking to analyze the contacts between the 3′ end of the RNA and Escherichia coli RNA polymerase during the early steps of RNA synthesis using the nucleotide analog 8-azido-ATP (8-N3-ATP). The crosslinking group on 8-N3-ATP contacts the β, β' and σ subunits when the analog is bound to the holoenzyme. We show here that 8-N3-ATP is a substrate for E. coli RNA polymerase and acts as an RNA chain terminator when incorporated into the 3′ end of nascent RNA. 8-N3-AMP was incorporated uniquely at the 3′ end of tri-, tetra- and pentanucleotides synthesized from a poly[d(A-T)] template and at the 3′ end of pentanucleotides from two promoters (λ PSpr′ and E. coli rrnB P1). The oligonucleotides were covalently attached to the RNA polymerase by irradiation of transcription complexes with ultraviolet light. All RNAs labeled the β and β' subunits, but σ was contacted only by the trinucleotide and tetranucleotide on poly[d(A-T)]. Sigma is still present in transcription complexes containing the pentanucleotide on poly[d(A-T)], despite the lack of labeling. Neither pentanucleotide from the authentic promoters contacted σ. We conclude that as holoenzyme moves downstream, either two separate conformational changes occur, after synthesis of the trinucleotide and tetranucleotide, which result in movement of σ away from the nucleotide binding site or, alternatively, σ remains fixed relative to the DNA while the domain on core polymerase forming the nucleotide binding site moves downstream.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A chemical synthesis is described for 5′-O-triphosphate-4N-[6-(-γ-aminopropylamidosuccinylamido)-hexyl]deoxycytidine (13), the substrate for synthesis of 5′-O-triphosphate deoxycytidine derivatives (17-19) labeled with biotin, fluorescein and photoreactive azide.
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