Conformational change in the Bacillus subtilis RNase P holoenzyme--pre-tRNA complex enhances substrate affinity and limits cleavage rate
Hsieh, J.; Fierke, C.A.
Rna 15(8): 1565-1577
ISSN/ISBN: 1469-9001 PMID: 19549719 DOI: 10.1261/rna.1639409
Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ribonucleoprotein complex that catalyzes the 5' maturation of precursor tRNAs. To investigate the mechanism of substrate recognition in this enzyme, we characterize the thermodynamics and kinetics of Bacillus subtilis pre-tRNA(Asp) binding to B. subtilis RNase P holoenzyme using fluorescence techniques. Time courses for fluorescein-labeled pre-tRNA binding to RNase P are biphasic in the presence of both Ca(II) and Mg(II), requiring a minimal two-step association mechanism. In the first step, the apparent bimolecular rate constant for pre-tRNA associating with RNase P has a value that is near the diffusion limit and is independent of the length of the pre-tRNA leader. Following formation of the initial enzyme-substrate complex, a unimolecular step enhances the overall affinity of pre-tRNA by eight- to 300-fold as the length of the leader sequence increases from 2 to 5 nucleotides. This increase in affinity is due to a decrease in the reverse rate constant for the conformational change that correlates with the formation of an optimal leader-protein interaction in the RNase P holoenzyme-pre-tRNA complex. Furthermore, the forward rate constant for the conformational change becomes rate limiting for cleavage under single-turnover conditions at high pH, explaining the origin of the observed apparent pK(a) in the RNase P-catalyzed cleavage reaction. These data suggest that a conformational change in the RNase P*pre-tRNA complex is coupled to the interactions between the 5' leader and P protein and aligns essential functional groups at the cleavage active site to enhance efficient cleavage of pre-tRNA.