A conserved element in the yeast RNase MRP RNA subunit can participate in a long-range base-pairing interaction

Scott C. Walker, Johanna M. Avis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    RNase MRP is a ribonucleoprotein endoribonuclease involved in eukaryotic pre-rRNA processing. The enzyme possesses a putatively catalytic RNA subunit, structurally related to that of RNase P. A thorough structure analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae MRP RNA, entailing enzymatic and chemical probing, mutagenesis and thermal melting, identifies a previously unrecognised stem that occupies a position equivalent to the P7 stem of RNase P. Inclusion of this P7-like stem confers on yeast MRP RNA a greater degree of similarity to the core RNase P RNA structure than that described previously and better delimits domain 2, the proposed specificity domain. The additional stem is created by participation of a conserved sequence element (ymCR-II) in a long-range base-pairing interaction. There is potential for this base-pairing throughout the known yeast MRP RNA sequences. Formation of a P7-like stem is not required, however, for the pre-rRNA processing or essential function of RNase MRP. Mutants that can base-pair are nonetheless detrimental to RNase MRP function, indicating that the stem will form in vivo but that only the wild-type pairing is accommodated. Although the alternative MRP RNA structure described is clearly not part of the active RNase MRP enzyme, it would be the more stable structure in the absence of protein subunits and the probability that it represents a valid intermediate species in the process of yeast RNase MRP assembly is discussed. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)375-388
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of molecular biology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2004


    • catalytic RNA
    • ITS, internal transcribed spacer region
    • MRP, mitochondrial RNA processing
    • P7 stem
    • ribonucleoprotein
    • RNase P
    • RNase, ribonuclease
    • RNP, ribonucleoprotein
    • secondary structure
    • UTR, untranslated region
    • ymCR-II, yeast MRP conserved region II


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