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Phylogenetic analysis of tmRNA genes within a bacterial subgroup reveals a specific structural signature.

Abstract : Bacterial tmRNA mediates a trans-translation reaction, which permits the recycling of stalled ribosomes and probably also contributes to the regulated expression of a subset of genes. Its action results in the addition of a small number of C-terminal amino acids to protein whose synthesis had stalled and these constitute a proteolytic recognition tag for the degradation of these incompletely synthesized proteins. Previous work has identified pseudoknots and stem-loops that are widely conserved in divergent bacteria. In the present work an alignment of tmRNA gene sequences within 13 beta-proteobacteria reveals an additional sub-structure specific for this bacterial group. This sub-structure is in pseudoknot Pk2, and consists of one to two additional stem-loop(s) capped by stable GNRA tetraloop(s). Three-dimensional models of tmRNA pseudoknot 2 (Pk2) containing various topological versions of the additional sub-structure suggest that the sub-structures likely point away from the core of the RNA, containing both the tRNA and the mRNA domains. A putative tertiary interaction has also been identified.
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Brice Felden, Christian Massire, Eric Westhof, John F. Atkins, Raymond F. Gesteland. Phylogenetic analysis of tmRNA genes within a bacterial subgroup reveals a specific structural signature.. Nucleic Acids Research, Oxford University Press, 2001, 29 (7), pp.1602-7. ⟨10.1093/nar/29.7.1602⟩. ⟨inserm-00718211⟩



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