Sequence determinants of the folding properties of box C/D kink-turns in RNA

Saira Ashraf, Lin Huang, David M. J. Lilley (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Folding properties differ markedly between kink-turns (k-turns) that have different biological function. While ribosomal and riboswitch k-turns generally fold into their kinked conformation on addition of metal ions, box C/D snoRNP k-turns remain completely unfolded under these conditions, although they fold on addition of L7Ae protein. Sequence elements have been systematically exchanged between a standard ribosomal k-turn (Kt-7) that folds on addition of metal ions, and a box C/D k-turn. Folding was studied using fluorescence resonance energy transfer and gel electrophoresis. Three sequence elements each contribute in an approximately additive manner to the different folding properties of Kt-7 and box C/D k-turns from archaea. Bioinformatic analysis indicates that k-turn sequences evolve sequences that suit their folding properties to their biological function. The majority of ribosomal and riboswitch k-turns have sequences allowing unassisted folding in response to the presence of metal ions. By contrast, box C/D k-turns have sequences that require the binding of proteins to drive folding into the kinked conformation, consistent with their role in the assembly of the box C/D snoRNP apparatus. The rules governing the influence of sequence on folding properties can be applied to other standard k-turns to predict their folding characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1927-1935
Number of pages9
JournalRNA: a Publication of the RNA Society
Issue number12
Early online date27 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • RNA structure
  • snoRNP
  • k-turns
  • metal ions
  • L7Ae


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