The Three-Dimensional Organization of Escherichia Coli Ribosomal RNA
The structural analysis of a large RNA molecule proceeds in the four obvious stages of determining first the primary, then the secondary, then the tertiary structure, and finally — if the molecule is part of a multicomponent system — the quaternary structure. In the case of the ribosomal RNA molecules of Escherichia coli, current research is focussed on the last two of these stages. The primary structures of the 16S and 23S RNA have been known for some time, and secondary structures for both molecules have been derived by a combination of experimental approaches together with phylo-genetic comparisons with the corresponding RNA sequences from a variety of other species. These structural derivations, as well as the high degree of structural conservation among different organisms, have been the subject of a number of detailed recent reviews (e.g. 1–4). The secondary structures are still not complete (particularly in regions where the primary sequence is most highly conserved), and there are still a few discrepancies (reviewed in refs. 5,6) between the different versions that have been proposed (2,4), but nevertheless the current models for both 16S and 23S RNA provide a reliable framework into which data concerning the tertiary and quaternary arrangement of these molecules can be incorporated.
KeywordsNitrogen Mustard Conformational Switch Secondary Structure Model Switch Structure Quaternary Arrangement
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