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We have isolated an RNA with specific affinity for the L-valine side chain, using selection-amplification. The active RNA secondary structure, identified by repeated selection, is a highly conserved asymmetric (4:10) internal loop adjacent to required G-U pairs. The binding free-energy per methylene is up to 1.5 kcal mol-1, and very dependent on group(More)
The biological role of RNA is delimited by its possible reactions, which can be explored by selection. A comparison of selected RNAs that bind one ligand with those that bind two related ligands suggests that a single nucleotide substitution can expand binding specificity. An RNA site with dual (joint) specificity has adenine and cytosine bases whose pKa's(More)
Numerous RNA binding sites for specific amino acids are now known, coming predominantly from selection-amplification experiments. These sites are chemically discriminating despite being predominantly small, simple RNA structures: internal and bulge loops. Recent studies of sites for hydrophobic side chains suggest that there are other generalizable(More)
Annotated, complete DNA sequences are available for 213 mitochondrial genomes from 132 species. These provide an extensive sample of evolutionary adjustment of codon usage and meaning spanning the history of this organelle. Because most known coding changes are mitochondrial, such data bear on the general mechanism of codon reassignment. Coding changes have(More)
We have placed aminoacyl-tRNA selection at individual codons in competition with a frameshift that is assumed to have a uniform rate. By assaying a reporter in the shifted frame, relative rates for association of the 29 YNN codons and their cognate aminoacyl-tRNAs were obtained during logarithmic growth in Escherichia coli. For five codons, three beginning(More)
A specific, reversible binding site for a free amino acid is detectable on the intron of the Tetrahymena self-splicing ribosomal precursor RNA. The site selects arginine among the natural amino acids, and prefers the L- to the D-amino acid. The dissociation constant is in the millimolar range, and amino acid binding is at or in the catalytic rG splicing(More)
We propose that evolutionary reassignment of codons is facilitated by a translationally ambiguous intermediate. For example, recently discovered tRNA mutations that allow relatively efficient simultaneous cognate and near-cognate coding (sharing 2 contiguous nt) in vivo may speed reassignment of the near-cognate codon. As predicted by this notion,(More)
To explain now-numerous cases of codon reassignment (departure from the “universal” code), we suggest a pathway in which the transformed codon is temporarily ambiguous. All the unusual tRNA activities required have been demonstrated. In addition, the repetitive use of certain reassignments, the phylogenetic distribution of reassignments, and the properties(More)
An RNA has been selected that rapidly aminoacylates its 2'(3') terminus when provided with phenylalanyl-adenosine monophosphate. That is, the RNA accelerates the same aminoacyl group transfer catalyzed by protein aminoacyl-transfer RNA synthetases. The best characterized RNA reaction requires both Mg2+ and Ca2+. These results confirm a necessary prediction(More)
There is very significant evidence that cognate codons and/or anticodons are unexpectedly frequent in RNA-binding sites for seven of eight biological amino acids that have been tested. This suggests that a substantial fraction of the genetic code has a stereochemical basis, the triplets having escaped from their original function in amino acid-binding sites(More)