Helix 42 of Domain II of Escherichia coli 23S ribosomal RNA underlies the L7/L12 stalk in the ribosome and may be significant in positioning this feature relative to the rest of the 50S ribosomal subunit. Unlike the Haloarcula marismortui and Deinococcus radiodurans examples, the lower portion of helix 42 in E.coli contains two consecutive G•A oppositions with both adenines on the same side of the stem. Herein, the structure of an analog of positions 1037-1043 and 1112-1118 in the helix 42 region is reported. NMR spectra and structure calculations support a cis Watson-Crick/Watson-Crick (cis W.C.) G•A conformation for the tandem (G•A)2 in the analog and a minimally perturbed helical duplex stem. Mg2+ titration studies imply that the cis W.C. geometry of the tandem (G•A)2 probably allows O6 of G20 and N1 of A4 to coordinate with a Mg2+ ion as indicated by the largest chemical shift changes associated with the imino group of G20 and the H8 of G20 and A4. A cross-strand bridging Mg2+ coordination has also been found in a different sequence context in the crystal structure of H.marismortui 23S rRNA, and therefore it may be a rare but general motif in Mg2+ coordination.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the W.M. Keck Foundation which partially funds the 600 MHz NMR spectrometer at the University of Houston. The Institute of Molecular Design and the W.M. Keck Center provided computer resource support. The work was supported by grants from the Robert A. Welch Foundation (E-1451) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NAG5– 12366) to G.E.F, and the Robert A. Welch Foundation (E-1270) and NIH/GM (RO149957) to X.G. Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by indirect cost funds.