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Studies on Escherichia coli RNase P RNA with Zn2+ as the catalytic cofactor

, : Studies on Escherichia coli RNase P RNA with Zn2+ as the catalytic cofactor. Nucleic Acids Research 33(8): 2464-2474

We demonstrate, for the first time, catalysis by Escherichia coli ribonuclease P (RNase P) RNA with Zn2+ as the sole divalent metal ion cofactor in the presence of ammonium, but not sodium or potassium salts. Hill analysis suggests a role for two or more Zn2+ ions in catalysis. Whereas Zn2+ destabilizes substrate ground state binding to an extent that precludes reliable K-d determination, Co(NH3)(6)(3+) and Sr2+ in particular, both unable to support catalysis by themselves, promote high-substrate affinity. Zn2+ and Co(NH3)(6)(3+) substantially reduce the fraction of precursor tRNA molecules capable of binding to RNase P RNA. Stimulating and inhibitory effects of Sr2+ on the ribozyme reaction with Zn2+ as cofactor could be rationalized by a model involving two Sr2+ ions (or two classes of Sr2+ ions). Both ions improve substrate affinity in a cooperative manner, but one of the two inhibits substrate conversion in a non-competitive mode with respect to the substrate and the Zn2+. A single 2 '-fluoro modification at nt -1 of the substrate substantially weakened the inhibitory effect of Sr2+. Our results demonstrate that the studies on RNase P RNA with metal cofactors other than Mg2+ entail complex effects on structural equilibria of ribozyme and substrate RNAs as well as (ES)-S-. formation apart from the catalytic performance.


PMID: 15867194

DOI: 10.1093/nar/gki540

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