A-minor tertiary interactions in RNA kink-turns. Molecular dynamics and quantum chemical analysis.


The RNA kink-turn is an important recurrent RNA motif, an internal loop with characteristic consensus sequence forming highly conserved three-dimensional structure. Functional arrangement of RNA kink-turns shows a sharp bend in the phosphodiester backbone. Among other signature interactions, kink-turns form A-minor interaction between their two stems. Most kink-turns possess extended A-minor I (A-I) interaction where adenine of the second A•G base pair of the NC-stem interacts with the first canonical pair of the C-stem (i.e., the receptor pair) via trans-sugar-edge/sugar-edge (tSS) and cis-sugar-edge/sugar-edge (cSS) interactions. The remaining kink-turns have less compact A-minor 0 (A-0) interaction with just one tSS contact. We show that kink-turns with A-I in ribosomal X-ray structures keep G═C receptor base pair during evolution while the inverted pair (C═G) is not realized. In contrast, kink-turns with A-0 in the observed structures alternate G═C and C═G base pairs in sequences. We carried out an extended set (~5 μs) of explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations of kink-turns to rationalize this structural/evolutionary pattern. The simulations were done using a net-neutral Na(+) cation atmosphere (with ~0.25 M cation concentration) supplemented by simulations with either excess salt KCl atmosphere or inclusion of Mg(2+). The results do not seem to depend on the treatment of ions. The simulations started with X-ray structures of several kink-turns while we tested the response of the simulated system to base substitutions, modest structural perturbations and constraints. The trends seen in the simulations reveal that the A-I/G═C arrangement is preferred over all three other structures. The A-I/C═G triple appears structurally entirely unstable, consistent with the covariation patterns seen during the evolution. The A-0 arrangements tend to shift toward the A-I pattern in simulations, which suggests that formation of the A-0 interaction is likely supported by the surrounding protein and RNA molecules. A-0 may also be stabilized by additional kink-turn nucleotides not belonging to the kink-turn consensus, as shown for the kink-turn from ribosomal Helix 15. Quantum-chemical calculations on all four A-minor triples suggest that there is a different balance of electrostatic and dispersion stabilization in the A-I/G═C and A-I/C═G triples, which may explain different behavior of these otherwise isosteric triples in the context of kink-turns.

DOI: 10.1021/jp2065584
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@article{Rblov2011AminorTI, title={A-minor tertiary interactions in RNA kink-turns. Molecular dynamics and quantum chemical analysis.}, author={Kamila R{\'e}blov{\'a} and Judit E. Sponer and Naďa {\vS}pa{\vc}kov{\'a} and Ivana Be{\vs}{\vs}eov{\'a} and Jir{\'i} Sponer}, journal={The journal of physical chemistry. B}, year={2011}, volume={115 47}, pages={13897-910} }