Cross-linking experiments reveal the presence of novel structural features between a hepatitis delta virus ribozyme and its substrate.

RNA group/groupe ARN, Département de biochimie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec J1H 5N4, Canada.
RNA (Impact Factor: 4.62). 08/2004; 10(7):1059-72. DOI: 10.1261/rna.7230604
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The kinetic pathway of a trans-acting delta ribozyme includes an essential structural rearrangement involving the P1 stem, a stem that is formed between the substrate and the ribozyme. We performed cross-linking experiments to determine the substrate position within the catalytic center of an antigenomic, trans-acting, delta ribozyme. Substrates that included a 4-thiouridine either in position -1, +4, or +8 (i.e., adjacent to the cleavage site, or located either in the middle of or at the 3'-end of the P1 stem, respectively) were synthesized and shown to be efficiently cleaved. Examination of the cross-linking conditions, the use of various mutated ribozymes, as well as the probing and characterization of the resulting ribozyme-substrate complexes, revealed several new features of the molecular mechanism: (1) the close proximity of several bases between nucleotides of the substrate and ribozyme; (2) the active ribozyme-substrate complex folds in a manner that docks the middle of the P1 stem on the P3 stem, while concomitantly the scissile phosphate is in close proximity to the catalytic cytosine; and, (3) some complexes appear to be compatible with being active intermediates along the folding pathway, while others seem to correspond to misfolded structures. To provide a model representation of these data, a three-dimensional structure of the delta ribozyme was developed using several RNA bioinformatic software packages.

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    ABSTRACT: Both the role and the interacting partners of an RNA molecule can change depending on its tertiary structure. Consequently, it is important to be able to accurately predict the complete folding pathway of an RNA molecule. The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme is a small catalytic RNA with the greatest number of folding intermediates making it the model of choice with which to address this problem. The tertiary structures of the known putative intermediates along the folding pathway of the HDV ribozyme were predicted using the Macromolecular Conformations Symbolic programming (MC-Sym) software. The structures obtained by this method received physical support from Selective 2'-Hydroxyl Acylation analyzed by Primer Extension (SHAPE). The analysis of these structures elucidated several features of the HDV ribozyme. In addition, this report represents an application for MC-Sym that permits progression one step further toward the computer prediction of an RNA molecule-folding pathway.
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