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The Structure of a Rigorously Conserved RNA Element within the SARS Virus Genome
 

Summary: The Structure of a Rigorously Conserved
RNA Element within the SARS Virus Genome
Michael P. Robertson1,2
, Haller Igel1,3
, Robert Baertsch1,4
, David Haussler1,4
, Manuel Ares, Jr.1,3
, William G. Scott1,2*
1 The Center for the Molecular Biology of RNA, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, United States of America, 2 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
University of California, Santa Cruz, California, United States of America, 3 Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz,
California, United States of America, 4 Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, United
States of America
We have solved the three-dimensional crystal structure of the stem-loop II motif (s2m) RNA element of the SARS virus
genome to 2.7-A resolution. SARS and related coronaviruses and astroviruses all possess a motif at the 39 end of their
RNA genomes, called the s2m, whose pathogenic importance is inferred from its rigorous sequence conservation in an
otherwise rapidly mutable RNA genome. We find that this extreme conservation is clearly explained by the
requirement to form a highly structured RNA whose unique tertiary structure includes a sharp 908 kink of the helix axis
and several novel longer-range tertiary interactions. The tertiary base interactions create a tunnel that runs
perpendicular to the main helical axis whose interior is negatively charged and binds two magnesium ions. These
unusual features likely form interaction surfaces with conserved host cell components or other reactive sites required

  

Source: Ares Jr., Manny - Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine