UV light-induced RNA photocrosslinks are formed at a limited number of specific sites in the Escherichia coli and in other eubacterial 16 S rRNAs. To determine if unusually favorable internucleotide geometries could explain the restricted crosslinking patterns, parameters describing the internucleotide geometries were calculated from the Thermus thermophilus 30 S subunit X-ray structure and compared to crosslinking frequencies. Significant structural adjustments between the nucleotide pairs usually are needed for crosslinking. Correlations between the crosslinking frequencies and the geometrical parameters indicate that nucleotide pairs closer to the orientation needed for photoreaction have higher crosslinking frequencies. These data are consistent with transient conformational changes during crosslink formation in which the arrangements needed for photochemical reaction are attained during the electronic excitation times. The average structural rearrangement for UVA-4-thiouridine (s4U)-induced crosslinking is larger than that for UVB or UVC-induced crosslinking; this is associated with the longer excitation time for s4U and is also consistent with transient conformational changes. The geometrical parameters do not completely predict the crosslinking frequencies, implicating other aspects of the tertiary structure or conformational flexibility in determining the frequencies and the locations of the crosslinking sites. The majority of the UVB/C and UVA-s4U-induced crosslinks are located in four regions in the 30 S subunit, within or at the ends of RNA helix 34, in the tRNA P-site, in the distal end of helix 28 and in the helix 19/helix 27 region. These regions are implicated in different aspects of tRNA accommodation, translocation and in the termination reaction. These results show that photocrosslinking is an indicator for sites where there is internucleotide conformational flexibility and these sites are largely restricted to parts of the 30 S subunit associated with ribosome function
Internucleotide movements during formation of 16 S rRNA-rRNA photocrosslinks and their connection to the 30 S subunit conformational dynamics
Huggins, B., Ghosh, SK., Nanda, K., & Wollenzien, P. (2005). Internucleotide movements during formation of 16 S rRNA-rRNA photocrosslinks and their connection to the 30 S subunit conformational dynamics. Journal of Molecular Biology, 354(2), 358-374.