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Designing synthetic RNAs to determine the relevance of structural motifs in picornavirus IRES elements

AutorFernández-Chamorro, Javier; Lozano, Gloria; García-Martín, Juan Antonio; Ramajo, Jorge ; Dotu, Iván; Clote, Peter; Martínez-Salas, Encarnación
Fecha de publicación7-abr-2016
EditorNature Publishing Group
CitaciónScientific Reports 6: 24243 (2016)
ResumenThe function of Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) elements is intimately linked to their RNA structure. Viral IRES elements are organized in modular domains consisting of one or more stem-loops that harbor conserved RNA motifs critical for internal initiation of translation. A conserved motif is the pyrimidine-tract located upstream of the functional initiation codon in type I and II picornavirus IRES. By computationally designing synthetic RNAs to fold into a structure that sequesters the polypyrimidine tract in a hairpin, we establish a correlation between predicted inaccessibility of the pyrimidine tract and IRES activity, as determined in both in vitro and in vivo systems. Our data supports the hypothesis that structural sequestration of the pyrimidine-tract within a stable hairpin inactivates IRES activity, since the stronger the stability of the hairpin the higher the inhibition of protein synthesis. Destabilization of the stem-loop immediately upstream of the pyrimidine-tract also decreases IRES activity. Our work introduces a hybrid computational/experimental method to determine the importance of structural motifs for biological function. Specifically, we show the feasibility of using the software RNAiFold to design synthetic RNAs with particular sequence and structural motifs that permit subsequent experimental determination of the importance of such motifs for biological function.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/151302
DOI10.1038/srep24243
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1038/srep24243
issn: 2045-2322
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