An oligoribonucleotide with a sequence identical with the bacteriophage R17 replicase initiator region has been synthesized. The sequence also encompasses the binding domain of R17 coat protein, which is known to act as a translational repressor at this site. The 21-nucleotide fragment was synthesized entirely by enzymatic methods, T4 RNA ligase being used to join shorter oligomers. The resulting fragment has a secondary structure with the expected thermal stability. Since the synthetic fragment binds R17 coat protein with the same affinity as a 59-nucleotide fragment isolated from R17 RNA, we conclude that it has full biological activity.
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