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Conformations of t-RNA: Base pairing and stacking
Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics (1994)
  • Brooke Lustig, San Jose State University
  • D G Covell
  • R L Jernigan
The Phe t-RNA structure can be fit with one point per nucleotide to lattice models, and a fit for the 76 points to a face-centered cubic lattice is achieved with an RMS of 1.76 A There are 32 chain folds possible upon these points. Because it is impossible to calculate directly all combinations of potential base pairs for these cases, an alternative is to determine low energy secondary structures and subsequently the tertiary pairs. For each lattice fold, the low energy secondary structures are generated from a list of proximal bases. From the lists of remaining possible tertiary pairs, all combinations are generated, and these include 2,365,440 allowed conformers. Among the possible types of non-native conformational variations observed is slip pairing, accompanied by a bulge, at the end of a stem. Small changes in secondary structure can result in different tertiary pairs. Other calculations, not constrained to the t-RNA shape, are presented that involve the packing of rigid stems on a flexible internal loop. For a simple cubic lattice there are 36,484,128 lattice folds for the sixteen bases enclosing the internal loop. By attaching rigid stems and accounting for their excluded volume these are reduced to only 258,979 possible configurations. The most common stacking arrangements involve the usual two pairs of stacked stems indicated in the crystal structure. The present enumerations suggest that a completely thorough exploration of three dimensional RNA structures is feasible only with prior specification of restrictions on conformational freedom, such as those given by secondary structures.
  • t-RNA,
  • base pairing and stacking
Publication Date
Citation Information
Brooke Lustig, D G Covell and R L Jernigan. "Conformations of t-RNA: Base pairing and stacking" Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics Vol. 12 (1994)
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