The addition of Pb 2+ to a small RNA molecule consisting of an asymmetric internal loop of six nucleotides results in site-specific cleavage followed by hydrolysis of the 2′,3′-cyclic phosphate intermediate [Pan, T., & Uhlenbeck, O. C. (1992) Nature 358, 560-563]. Here we show that the reaction is highly specific for Pb 2+ and the cleavage rate increases exponentially with pH from 5.5 to 7.0, both in the presence and in the absence of Mg 2+. This suggests that the reaction mechanism involves Pb 2+ hydroxide acting as a base. Several sequence variants of the RNA are found to be equally active in both steps of the reaction, suggesting that they fold into a similar structure.
Field of Research
060199 Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences