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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Specific phosphorothioate substitutions probe the active site of Bacillus subtilis ribonuclease P.

Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ribonucleoprotein that requires magnesium ions to catalyze the 5' maturation of transfer RNA. To identify interactions essential for catalysis, the properties of RNase P containing single sulfur substitutions for nonbridging phosphodiester oxygens in helix P4 of Bacillus subtilis RNase P were analyzed using transient kinetic experiments. Sulfur substitution at the nonbridging oxygens of the phosphodiester bond of nucleotide U51 only modestly affects catalysis. However, phosphorothioate substitutions at A49 and G50 decrease the cleavage rate constant enormously (300-4,000-fold for P RNA and 500-15,000-fold for RNase P holoenzyme) in magnesium without affecting the affinity of pre-tRNA(Asp), highlighting the importance of this region for catalysis. Furthermore, addition of manganese enhances pre-tRNA cleavage catalyzed by B. subtilis RNase P RNA containing an Sp phosphorothioate modification at A49, as observed for Escherichia coli P RNA [Christian et al., RNA, 2000, 6:511-519], suggesting that an essential metal ion may be coordinated at this site. In contrast, no manganese rescue is observed for the A49 Sp phosphorothioate modification in RNase P holoenzyme. These differential manganese rescue effects, along with affinity cleavage, suggest that the protein component may interact with a metal ion bound near A49 in helix P4 of P RNA.[1]


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