RNA Structural Modules Control the Rate and Pathway of RNA Folding and Assembly.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Structured RNAs fold through multiple pathways, but we have little understanding of the molecular features that dictate folding pathways and determine rates along a given pathway. Here, we asked whether folding of a complex RNA can be understood from its structural modules. In a two-piece version of the Tetrahymena group I ribozyme, the separated P5abc subdomain folds to local native secondary and tertiary structure in a linked transition and assembles with the ribozyme core via three tertiary contacts: a kissing loop (P14), a metal core-receptor interaction, and a tetraloop-receptor interaction, the first two of which are expected to depend on native P5abc structure from the local transition. Native gel, NMR, and chemical footprinting experiments showed that mutations that destabilize the native P5abc structure slowed assembly up to 100-fold, indicating that P5abc folds first and then assembles with the core by conformational selection. However, rate decreases beyond 100-fold were not observed because an alternative pathway becomes dominant, with nonnative P5abc binding the core and then undergoing an induced-fit rearrangement. P14 is formed in the rate-limiting step along the conformational selection pathway but after the rate-limiting step along the induced-fit pathway. Strikingly, the assembly rate along the conformational selection pathway resembles that of an isolated kissing loop similar to P14, and the rate along the induced-fit pathway resembles that of an isolated tetraloop-receptor interaction. Our results indicate substantial modularity in RNA folding and assembly and suggest that these processes can be understood in terms of underlying structural modules.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gracia, B; Xue, Y; Bisaria, N; Herschlag, D; Al-Hashimi, HM; Russell, R

Published Date

  • October 9, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 428 / 20

Start / End Page

  • 3972 - 3985

PubMed ID

  • 27452365

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5048535

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1089-8638

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jmb.2016.07.013


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England