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Structure of Pseudoknot PK26 Shows 3D Domain Swapping in an RNA3D domain swapping provides a facile pathway for the evolution of oligomeric proteins and allosteric mechanisms and a means for using monomer-oligomer equilibria to regulate biological activity. The term "3D domain swapping" describes the exchange of identical domains between two protein monomers to create an oligomer. 3D domain swapping has, so far, only been recognized in proteins. In this study, the structure of the pseudoknot PK26 is reported and it is a clear example of 3D domain swapping in RNA. PK26 was chosen for study because RNA pseudoknots are required structures in several biological processes and they arise frequently in in vitro selection experiments directed against protein targets. PK26 specifically inhibits HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with nanomolar affinity. We have now determined the 3.1 A resolution crystal structure of PK26 and find that it forms a 3D domain swapped dimer. PK26 shows extensive base pairing between and within strands. Formation of the dimer requires the linker region between the pseudoknot folds to adopt a unique conformation that allows a base within a helical stem to skip one base in the stacking register. Rearrangement of the linker would permit a monomeric pseudoknot to form. This structure shows how RNA can use 3D domain swapping to build large scale oligomers like the putative hexamer in the packaging RNA of bacteriophage Phi29.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Lietzke, Susan E (Massachusetts Univ. Medical Center Worcester, MA United States)
Barnes, Cindy L. (Massachusetts Univ. Medical Center Worcester, MA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
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