Published on Feb. 2, 2004 in J Mol Biol volume 335.

PubMed ID: 14659742


Pseudouridine (5-beta-D-ribofuranosyluracil, Psi) is the most commonly found modified base in RNA. Conversion of uridine to Psi is performed enzymatically in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes by pseudouridine synthases (EC The Escherichia coli Psi-synthase RluD modifies uridine to Psi at positions 1911, 1915 and 1917 within 23S rRNA. RluD also possesses a second function related to proper assembly of the 50S ribosomal subunit that is independent of Psi-synthesis. Here, we report the crystal structure of the catalytic module of RluD (residues 68-326; DeltaRluD) refined at 1.8A to a final R-factor of 21.8% (R(free)=24.3%). DeltaRluD is a monomeric enzyme having an overall mixed alpha/beta fold. The DeltaRluD molecule consists of two subdomains, a catalytic subdomain and C-terminal subdomain with the RNA-binding cleft formed by loops extending from the catalytic sub-domain. The catalytic sub-domain of DeltaRluD has a similar fold as in TruA, TruB and RsuA, with the location of the RNA-binding cleft, active-site and conserved, catalytic Asp residue superposing in all four structures. Superposition of the crystal structure of TruB bound to a T-stem loop with RluD reveals that similar RNA-protein interactions for the flipped-out uridine base would exist in both structures, implying that base-flipping is necessary for catalysis. This observation also implies that the specificity determinants for site-specific RNA-binding and recognition likely reside in parts of RluD beyond the active site.

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