Modomics - A Database of RNA Modifications

Published on Jan. 1, 2010 in J Mol Biol volume 401: 690-695.

PubMed ID: 20615421

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.06.061


The most abundant chemical modification on RNA is isomerization of uridine (or pseudouridylation) catalyzed by pseudouridine synthases. The catalytic mechanism of this essential process remains largely speculative, partly due to lack of knowledge of the pre-reactive state that is important to the identification of reactive chemical moieties. In the present study, we showed, using orthogonal space random-walk free-energy simulation, that the pre-reactive states of uridine and its reactive derivative 5-fluorouridine, bound to a ribonucleoprotein particle pseudouridine synthase, strongly prefer the syn glycosidic bond conformation, while that of the nonreactive 5-bromouridine-containing substrate is largely populated in the anti conformation state. A high-resolution crystal structure of the 5-bromouridine-containing substrate bound to the ribonucleoprotein particle pseudouridine synthase and enzyme activity assay confirmed the anti-nonreactive conformation and provided the molecular basis for its confinement. The observed preference for the syn pre-reactive state by the enzyme-bound uridine may help to distinguish among currently proposed mechanisms.