Structural basis for ligand binding to the guanidine-II riboswitch.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


RNA, Volume 23, Issue 9, p.1338-1343 (2017)


Base Pairing, Dimerization, Guanidine, Guanidines, Hydrogen Bonding, Ligands, Models, Biological, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Riboswitch, RNA, Messenger, Structure-Activity Relationship


<p>The guanidine-II riboswitch, also known as mini-ykkC, is a conserved mRNA element with more than 800 examples in bacteria. It consists of two stem-loops capped by identical, conserved tetraloops that are separated by a linker region of variable length and sequence. Like the guanidine-I riboswitch, it controls the expression of guanidine carboxylases and SugE-like genes. The guanidine-II riboswitch specifically binds free guanidinium cations and functions as a translationally controlled on-switch. Here we report the structure of a P2 stem-loop from the Pseudomonas aeruginosa guanidine-II riboswitch aptamer bound to guanidine at 1.57 Å resolution. The hairpins dimerize via the conserved tetraloop, which also contains the binding pocket. Two guanidinium molecules bind near the dimerization interface, one in each tetraloop. The guanidinium cation is engaged in extensive hydrogen bonding to the RNA. Contacts include the Hoogsteen face of a guanine base and three nonbridging phosphate oxygens. Cation-π interactions and ionic interactions also stabilize ligand binding. The guanidine-II riboswitch utilizes the same recognition strategies as the guanidine-I riboswitch while adopting an entirely different and much smaller RNA fold.</p>

5VJ9 (native) and 5VJB (5-BrU)