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Solution structure of an archaeal RNase P binary protein complex: formation of the 30-kDa complex between Pyrococcus furiosus RPP21 and RPP29 is accompanied by coupled protein folding and highlights critical features for protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions

Xu, Y.; Amero, C.D.; Pulukkunat, D.K.; Gopalan, V.; Foster, M.P.

Journal of molecular biology 393(5): 1043-1055

2009


ISSN/ISBN: 1089-8638
PMID: 19733182
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.08.068
Accession: 055842527

Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that catalyzes the Mg(2+)-dependent 5' maturation of precursor tRNAs. In all domains of life, it is a ribozyme: the RNase P RNA (RPR) component has been demonstrated to be responsible for catalysis. However, the number of RNase P protein subunits (RPPs) varies from 1 in bacteria to 9 or 10 in eukarya. The archaeal RPR is associated with at least 4 RPPs, which function in pairs (RPP21-RPP29 and RPP30-POP5). We used solution NMR spectroscopy to determine the three-dimensional structure of the protein-protein complex comprising Pyrococcus furiosus RPP21 and RPP29. We found that the protein-protein interaction is characterized by coupled folding of secondary structural elements that participate in interface formation. In addition to detailing the intermolecular contacts that stabilize this 30-kDa binary complex, the structure identifies surfaces rich in conserved basic residues likely vital for recognition of the RPR and/or precursor tRNA. Furthermore, enzymatic footprinting experiments allowed us to localize the RPP21-RPP29 complex to the specificity domain of the RPR. These findings provide valuable new insights into mechanisms of RNP assembly and serve as important steps towards a three-dimensional model of this ancient RNP enzyme.

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