Determination of the folding topology of the SL1 RNA from caenorhabditis elegans by multidimensional heteronuclear NMR

Nancy L. Greenbaum*, Ishwar Radhakrishnan, David Hirsh, Dinshaw J. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The process of trans-splicing involves the transfer of a short spliced leader (SL) RNA sequence to a consensus acceptor site on a separate pre-mRNA transcript. In this study, the first stem loop of the SL1 RNA from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was examined by homonuclear and heteronuclear NMR. Results of enzymatic cleavage patterns established that the first 36 nucleotides (which includes the splice site and a complementary base-paired region surrounding a nine-nucleotide hairpin loop) remain structurally independent of the rest of the 100-nucleotide full-length transcript. A comparison of exchangeable and non-exchangeable proton chemical shifts in the region of the splice site and loop between the native sequence and a modified 26-nucleotide fragment from which an asymmetric internal loop had been deleted was made. There was no significant difference between the resonance locations of the equivalent protons in the two molecules, establishing that there was no tertiary interaction between the hairpin and internal loops. Full chemical shift assignments of 1H,13C, and 15N chemical shifts were obtained for the modified fragment by multidimensional homonuclear and heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy The stem adopts an A-form helix typical of RNA. The A-type helical conformation of the stem appears to continue for the first three nucleotides of the 5' side of the loop, followed by a guanosine residue in a syn conformation about the glycosidic bond. Base stacking is not seen on the 3' side of the loop. There was no evidence for formation of Watson-Crick base-pairs within the loop, but several long distance NOEs indicated cross-loop contacts, indicative of a structured loop. The final loop residues, an adenine which is conserved among all known nematode SL RNA sequences, adopts an extrahelical conformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-327
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 22 1995


  • NMR
  • RNA
  • Spliced leader
  • Trans-splicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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