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Different Sequences Show Similar Quaternary Interaction Stabilities in Prohead Viral RNA Self-assembly*

By Xiaobo Gu and Susan J. Schroeder

Abstract

Prohead RNA (pRNA) is an essential component of the self-assembling φ29 bacteriophage DNA packaging motor. Different related species of bacteriophage share only 12% similarity in pRNA sequences. The secondary structure for pRNA is conserved, however. In this study, we present evidence for self-assembly in different pRNA sequences and new measurements of the energetics for the quaternary interactions in pRNA dimers and trimers. The energetics for self-assembly in different pRNA sequences are similar despite very different sequences in the loop-loop interactions. The architecture surrounding the interlocking loops contributes to the stability of the pRNA quaternary interactions, and sequence variation outside the interlocking loops may counterbalance the changes in the loop sequences. Thus, the evolutionary divergence of pRNA sequences maintains not only conservation of function and secondary structure but also stabilities of quaternary interactions. The self-assembly of pRNA can be fine-tuned with variations in magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, temperature, and concentration. The ability to control pRNA self-assembly holds promise for the development of nanoparticle therapeutic applications for this biological molecule. The pRNA system is well suited for future studies to further understand the energetics of RNA tertiary and quaternary interactions, which can provide insight into larger biological assemblies such as viruses and biomolecular motors

Topics: RNA
Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3077641
Provided by: PubMed Central
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