Characterization of a cyanobacterial RNase P ribozyme recognition motif in the IRES of foot-and-mouth disease virus reveals a unique structural element
Serrano, P.; Gomez, J.; Martínez-Salas, E.ón.
Rna 13(6): 849-859
ISSN/ISBN: 1355-8382 PMID: 17449727 DOI: 10.1261/rna.506607
Translation initiation driven by internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements is dependent on the structural organization of the IRES region. Picornavirus IRES are organized in structural domains, in which the terminal stem-loops participate in functional RNA-protein interactions. However, the mechanistic role performed by the central domain during internal initiation has not been elucidated yet. Here we show that the foot-and-mouth-disease virus IRES contains a structural motif that serves in vitro as substrate for the Synechocystis sp. RNase P ribozyme, a structure-dependent endonuclease that participates in tRNA precursor processing. Recognition of the IRES substrate was dose dependent, required high magnesium concentration, and resulted in the formation of cleavage products with 5' phosphate and 3' hydroxyl ends. Mapping of the core recognition motif indicated that it overlapped with the apical region of the central domain. Two IRES constructs containing nucleotide substitutions in the apical region of the central domain that reorganized RNA structure displayed an altered pattern of cleavage by the cyanobacterial ribozyme generating new cleavage events in nearby residues. From these data it is inferred that the central domain of the IRES region has evolved a tRNA structural mimicry that renders it a substrate for RNase P ribozyme reaction. Recognition of this motif was affected in defective IRES mutants with a local RNA structure reorganization, suggesting that its structural preservation is required for IRES activity.