Published on June 1, 2007 in RNA volume 13.
PubMed ID: 17438123
Archaeal box C/D sRNAs guide the 2'-O-methylation of target nucleotides using both terminal box C/D and internal C'/D' RNP complexes. In vitro assembly of a catalytically active Methanocaldococcus jannaschii sR8 box C/D RNP provides a model complex to determine those structural features of the guide:target RNA duplex important for sRNA-guided nucleotide methylation. Watson-Crick pairing of guide and target nucleotides was found to be essential for methylation, and mismatched bases within the guide:target RNA duplex also disrupted nucleotide modification. However, dependence upon Watson-Crick base-paired guide:target nucleotides for methylation was compromised in elevated Mg(2+) concentrations where mismatched target nucleotides were modified. Nucleotide methylation required that the guide:target duplex consist of an RNA:RNA duplex as a target ribonucleotide within a guide RNA:target DNA duplex that was not methylated. Interestingly, D and D' target RNAs exhibited different levels of methylation when deoxynucleotides were inserted into the target RNA or when target methylation was carried out in elevated Mg(2+) concentrations. These observations suggested that unique structural features of the box C/D and C'/D' RNPs differentially affect their respective methylation capabilities. The ability of the sR8 box C/D sRNP to methylate target nucleotides positioned within highly structured RNA hairpins suggested that the sRNP can facilitate unwinding of double-stranded target RNAs. Finally, increasing target RNA length to extend beyond those nucleotides that base pair with the sRNA guide sequence significantly increased sRNP turnover and thus nucleotide methylation. This suggests that target RNA interaction with the sRNP core proteins is also important for box C/D sRNP-guided nucleotide methylation.