Structural analyses of an RNA stability element interacting with poly(A).

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Seyed-Fakhreddin TorabiJoan A Steitz


Cis-acting RNA elements are crucial for the regulation of polyadenylated RNA stability. The element for nuclear expression (ENE) contains a U-rich internal loop flanked by short helices. An ENE stabilizes RNA by sequestering the poly(A) tail via formation of a triplex structure that inhibits a rapid deadenylation-dependent decay pathway. Structure-based bioinformatic studies identified numerous ENE-like elements in evolutionarily diverse genomes, including a subclass containing two ENE motifs separated by a short double-helical region (double ENEs [dENEs]). Here, the structure of a dENE derived from a rice transposable element (TWIFB1) before and after poly(A) binding (∼24 kDa and ∼33 kDa, respectively) is investigated. We combine biochemical structure probing, small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to investigate the dENE structure and its local and global structural changes upon poly(A) binding. Our data reveal 1) the directionality of poly(A) binding to the dENE, and 2) that the dENE-poly(A) interaction involves a motif that protects the 3'-most seven adenylates of the poly(A). Furthermore, we demonstrate that the dENE does not undergo a dramatic global conformational change upon poly(A) ...Continue Reading


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