Journal of the American Chemical Society

Femtomole SHAPE reveals regulatory structures in the authentic XMRV RNA genome.

PMID 22126209


Higher-order structure influences critical functions in nearly all noncoding and coding RNAs. Most single-nucleotide resolution RNA structure determination technologies cannot be used to analyze RNA from scarce biological samples, like viral genomes. To make quantitative RNA structure analysis applicable to a much wider array of RNA structure-function problems, we developed and applied high-sensitivity selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) to structural analysis of authentic genomic RNA of the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV). For analysis of fluorescently labeled cDNAs generated in high-sensitivity SHAPE experiments, we developed a two-color capillary electrophoresis approach with zeptomole molecular detection limits and subfemtomole sensitivity for complete SHAPE experiments involving hundreds of individual RNA structure measurements. High-sensitivity SHAPE data correlated closely (R = 0.89) with data obtained by conventional capillary electrophoresis. Using high-sensitivity SHAPE, we determined the dimeric structure of the XMRV packaging domain, examined dynamic interactions between the packaging domain RNA and viral nucleocapsid protein inside virion particles, and identified the packaging signal for this virus. Despite extensive sequence differences between XMRV and the intensively studied Moloney murine leukemia virus, architectures of the regulatory domains are similar and reveal common principles of gammaretrovirus RNA genome packaging.

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1-Methyl-7-nitroisatoic anhydride