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Inner-Sphere Coordination of Divalent Metal Ion with Nucleobase in Catalytic RNA.

Journal of the American Chemical Society (2017-11-09)
Xin Liu, Yu Chen, Carol A Fierke

Identification of the function of metal ions and the RNA moieties, particularly nucleobases, that bind metal ions is important in RNA catalysis. Here we combine single-atom and abasic substitutions to probe functions of conserved nucleobases in ribonuclease P (RNase P). Structural and biophysical studies of bacterial RNase P propose direct coordination of metal ions by the nucleobases of conserved uridine and guanosine in helix P4 of the RNA subunit (P RNA). To biochemically probe the function of metal ion interactions, we substituted the universally conserved bulged uridine (U51) in the P4 helix of circularly permuted Bacillus subtilis P RNA with 4-thiouridine, 4-deoxyuridine, and abasic modifications and G378/379 with 2-aminopurine, N7-deazaguanosine, and 6-thioguanosine. The functional group modifications of U51 decrease RNase P-catalyzed phosphodiester bond cleavage 16- to 23-fold, as measured by the single-turnover cleavage rate constant. The activity of the 4-thiouridine RNase P is partially rescued by addition of Cd(II) or Mn(II) ions. This is the first time a metal-rescue experiment provides evidence for inner-sphere divalent metal ion coordination with a nucleobase. Modifications of G379 modestly decrease the cleavage activity of RNase P, suggesting outer-sphere coordination of O6 on G379 to a metal ion. These data provide biochemical evidence for catalytically important interactions of the P4 helix of P RNA with metal ions, demonstrating that the bulged uridine coordinates at least one catalytic metal ion through an inner-sphere interaction. The combination of single-atom and abasic nucleotide substitutions provides a powerful strategy to probe functions of conserved nucleobases in large RNAs.

Product Number
Product Description

4-Thiouridine, ≥98%
6-Carboxyfluorescein, ~97% (HPLC)
2-Aminopurine, ≥99%
Thiophosphoryl chloride, 98%