Analysis of adenovirus VA RNAI structure and stability using compensatory base pair modifications

Graeme Conn, Veronica K. CoventryV.K., Graeme I. Conn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Adenovirus VA RNAs are short non-coding transcripts that assist in maintaining viral protein expression in infected cells. Six sets of mismatch and compensatory base pair mutants of VA RNAI were examined by gel mobility and RNA UV melting to assess the contribution of each structural domain to its overall structure and stability. Each domain of VA RNAI was first assigned to one of two apparent unfolding transitions in the wild-type melting profile. The Terminal Stem and Central Domain unfold in a single cooperative apparent transition with an apparent Tm of ∼60°C. In contrast, the Apical Stem unfolds independently and with much higher apparent Tm of ∼83°C. Remarkably, this domain appears to behave as an almost entirely autonomous unit within the RNA, mirroring the functional division within the RNA between PKR binding and inhibition. The effects of mismatch and compensatory mutations at five of the six sites on the RNA melting profile are consistent with proposed base pairing and provide further validation of the current secondary structure model. Mutations in the Central Domain were tested in PKR inhibition assays and a component of the VA RNAI Central Domain structure essential for PKR inhibitory activity was identified. © 2008 The Author(s).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1645-1653
    Number of pages8
    JournalNucleic acids research.
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


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