Wesley B. Derrick

University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, United States

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Publications (5)22.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Under standard reaction conditions, a hammerhead ribozyme with a phosphorodithioate linkage at the cleavage site cleaved to the expected products with a rate about 500-fold slower than the corresponding phosphodiester linkage. When the greater stability of the dithioate linkage to nonenzymatic nucleophilic attack is taken into account, the hammerhead is remarkably effective at cleaving the dithioate linkage considering that the R(P)-phosphoromonothioate linkage is virtually inactive. On the basis of experiments determining the Mg(2+) concentration dependence of the cleavage rate and the stimulation of cleavage by thiophilic Cd(2+) ion, the lesser catalytic rate enhancement of the dithioate linkage is primarily due to the loss of a single Mg(2+) ion bound near the cleavage site. These results are qualitatively similar to, but quantitatively different from, similar experiments examining the hammerhead cleavage properties of the R(P)-phosphoromonothioate linkage. The dithioate linkage thus promises to be a valuable alternative phosphate analogue to the monothioate linkage in studying the mechanisms of RNA catalysis.
    No preview · Article · May 2000 · Biochemistry
  • Jack Horowitz · W C Chu · Wesley B. Derrick · Jack C.-H. Liu · Mingsong Liu · Dongxian Yue
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    ABSTRACT: We have studied the interactions between Escherichia coli tRNAVal and valyl-tRNA synthetase (ValRS) by enzymatic footprinting with nuclease S1 and ribonuclease V1, and by analysis of the aminoacylation kinetics of mutant tRNAVal transcripts. Valyl-tRNA synthetase specifically protects the anticodon loop, the 3' side of the stacked T-stem/acceptor-stem helix, and the 5' side of the anticodon stem of tRNAVal against cleavage by double- and single-strand-specific nucleases. Increased nuclease susceptibility at the ends of the anticodon- and T-stems in the tRNAVal.ValRS complex is indicative of enzyme-induced conformational changes in the tRNA. The most important synthetase recognition determinants are the middle and 3' anticodon nucleotides (A35 and C36, respectively); G20, in the variable pocket, and G45, in the tRNA central core, are minor recognition elements. The discriminator base, position 73, and the anticodon stem also are recognized by ValRS. Replacing wild-type A73 with G73 reduces the aminoacylation efficiency more than 40-fold. However, the C73 and U73 mutants remain good substrates for ValRS, suggesting that guanosine at position 73 acts as a negative determinant. The amino acid acceptor arm of tRNAVal contains no other synthetase recognition nucleotides, but regular A-type RNA helix geometry in the acceptor stem is essential [Liu, M., et al. (1997) Nucleic Acids Res. 25, 4883-4890]. In the anticodon stem, converting the U29:A41 base pair to C29:G41 reduces the aminoacylation efficiency 50-fold. This is apparently due to the rigidity of the anticodon stem caused by the presence of five consecutive C:G base pairs, since the A29:U41 mutant is readily aminoacylated. Identity switch experiments provide additional evidence for a role of the anticodon stem in synthetase recognition. The valine recognition determinants, A35, C36, A73, G20, G45, and a regular A-RNA acceptor helix are insufficient to transform E. coli tRNAPhe into an effective valine acceptor. Replacing the anticodon stem of tRNAPhe with that of tRNAVal, however, converts the tRNA into a good substrate for ValRS. These experiments confirm G45 as a minor ValRS recognition element.
    No preview · Article · Jul 1999 · Biochemistry
  • Source
    SueAnn C. Dahm · Wesley B. Derrick · Olke C. Uhlenbeck
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    ABSTRACT: The log of the rate of the chemical step of hammerhead cleavage in Mg2+ increases linearly with pH between pH 5.7 and 8.9. A slope of approximately 1 indicates that a single deprotonation is required for cleavage. Hammerhead pH-rate profiles with Ca2+, Mn2+, Co2+, and Cd2+ correlate well with the pKa's of these ions in water. This relationship between the pKa's and the pH-rate profile suggests that a metal hydroxide bound to the hammerhead RNA acts as the base in the cleavage mechanism.
    Preview · Article · Jan 1994 · Biochemistry
  • Source
    Wesley B. Derrick · Jack Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: Structural differences between native (modified) and in transcribed (unmodified) Escherichia coli tRNAVal were explored by comparing their temperature- absorbance profiles as a function of magnesium ion concentration and by probing their solution conformation with single- and double-strand-specific endonucleases. In vitro transcribed tRNAVal has a less ordered structure as monitored by thermal melting profiles; its Tm is appreciably lower than that of native tRNAVal at all Mg2+ concentrations. Structure probing experiments with nuclease S1 and ribonuclease V1 show that the unmodified tRNAVal transcript is more susceptible to nuclease attack at low Mg2+ concentrations, particularly in the D- and T-loops, indicative of at least a partial disruption of D-loop/T-loop interactions. These experiments also provide evidence for temperature-dependent alternative conformations of the anticodon loop of native tRNAVal. Modified nucleosides are essential for the stability of these conformers; they cannot be detected in the unmodified in vitro transcript. The observations suggest that posttranscriptional modifications in tRNA allow the adoption of unique conformations and act to stabilize those that are biologically active.
    Preview · Article · Nov 1993 · Nucleic Acids Research
  • W C Chu · Vahid Feiz · Wesley B. Derrick · Jack Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: In order to utilize 19F nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to probe the solution structure of Escherichia coli tRNAVal labeled by incorporation of 5-fluorouracil, we have assigned its 19F spectrum. We describe here assignments made by examining the spectra of a series of tRNAVal mutants with nucleotide substitutions for individual 5-fluorouracil residues. The result of base replacements on the structure and function of the tRNA are also characterized. Mutants were prepared by oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis of a cloned tRNAVal gene, and the tRNAs transcribed in vitro by bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. By identifying the missing peak in the 19F NMR spectrum of each tRNA variant we were able to assign resonances from fluorouracil residues in loop and stem regions of the tRNA. As a result of the assignment of FU33, FU34 and FU29, temperature-dependent spectral shifts could be attributed to changes in anticodon loop and stem conformation. Observation of a magnesium ion-dependent splitting of the resonance assigned to FU64 suggested that the T-arm of tRNAVal can exist in two conformations in slow exchange on the NMR time scale. Replacement of most 5-fluorouracil residues in loops and stems had little effect on the structure of tRNAVal; few shifts in the 19F NMR spectrum of the mutant tRNAs were noted. However, replacing the FU29.A41 base-pair in the anticodon stem with C29.G41 induced conformational changes in the anticodon loop as well as in the P-10 loop. Effects of nucleotide substitution on aminoacylation were determined by comparing the Vmax and Km values of tRNAVal mutants with those of the wild-type tRNA. Nucleotide substitution at the 3' end of the anticodon (position 36) reduced the aminoacylation efficiency (Vmax/Km) of tRNAVal by three orders of magnitude. Base replacement at the 5' end of the anticodon (position 34) had only a small negative effect on the aminoacylation efficiency. Substitution of the FU29.A41 base-pair increased the Km value 20-fold, while Vmax remained almost unchanged. The FU4.A69 base-pair in the acceptor stem, could readily be replaced with little effect on the aminoacylation efficiency of E. coli tRNAVal, indicating that this base-pair is not an identity element of the tRNA, as suggested by others.
    No preview · Article · Nov 1992 · Journal of Molecular Biology

Publication Stats

453 Citations
22.49 Total Impact Points


  • 1994-2000
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • 1992-1999
    • Iowa State University
      • Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
      Ames, Iowa, United States