Secondary structure in polyuridylic acid. Non-classical hydrogen bonding and the function of the ribose 2′-hydroxyl group

Peter R. Young, Neville R. Kallenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The role of non-classical hydrogen bonding in RNA structure has been investigated using polyuridylic acid, which has a labile ordered structure at temperatures near 0 °C, as a model system. By comparing the proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum of poly(U) in the transition region with that of uridine and the dimer UpU we find evidence that both the imino N(3)-H and the ribosyl 2′-OH protons are hydrogen bonded. The characteristics of the former are consistent with participation in N(3)-HOC bonding primarily between residues in the same strand. As yet we cannot unambiguously assign the acceptor for the 2′-OH in ordered poly(U): because of its apparent stability and the acceptable stereochemistry, we presently favor a bond between ribose 2′-OH and O(1′) connecting adjacent nucleotides of the same strand. This arrangement could contribute to the co-operativity of the poly(U) helix formation. The recently proposed 2′-OHO(1′) interactions in crystalline yeast transfer RNAPhe suggest similar interactions might play a role in the conformational stability of natural RNAs. A second conformational transition below the major transition in the ultraviolet can be detected in poly(U) by monitoring the H(6) proton of uracil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-479
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume126
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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