Processing of histidine transfer RNA precursors. Abnormal cleavage site for RNase P

U. Burkard, I. Willis, D. Soll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The 5'-terminal guanylate residue (G-1) of mature Escherichia coli tRNA(His) is generated as a result of an unusual cleavage by RNase P (Orellana, O., Cooley, L., and Soll, D. (1986) Mol. Cell. Biol. 6, 525-529). We have examined the importance of the unique acceptor stem structure of E. coli tRNA(His) in determining the specificity of RNase P cleavage. Mutant tRNA(His) precursors bearing substitutions of the normal base G-1 or the opposing, potentially paired base, C73, can be cleaved at the +1 position, in contrast to wild-type precursors which are cut exclusively at the -1 position. These data indicate that the nature of the base at position -1 is of greater importance in determining the site of RNase P cleavage than potential base pairing between nucleotides -1 and 73. In addition, processing of the mutant precursors by M1-RNA or P RNA under conditions of ribozyme catalysis yields a higher proportion of +1-cleaved products in comparison to the reaction catalyzed by the RNase P holoenzyme. This lower sensitivity of the holoenzyme to alterations in acceptor stem structure suggests that the protein moiety of RNase P may play a role in determining the specificity of the reaction and implies that recognition of the substrate involves additional regions of the tRNA. We have also shown that the RNase P holoenzyme and tRNA(His) precursor of Saccharomyces cervisiae, unlike their prokaryotic counterparts, do not possess these abilities to carry out this unusual reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2447-2451
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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