Magnesium-dependent folding of self-splicing RNA: Exploring the link between cooperativity, thermodynamics, and kinetics

Jie Pan, D. Thirumalai, Sarah A. Woodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Folding of the Tetrahymena self-splicing RNA into its active conformation involves a set of discrete intermediate states. The Mg2+- dependent equilibrium transition from the intermediates to the native structure is more cooperative than the formation of the intermediates from the unfolded states. We show that the degree of cooperativity is linked to the free energy of each transition and that the rate of the slow transition from the intermediates to the native state decreases exponentially with increasing Mg2+ concentration. Monovalent salts, which stabilize the folded RNA nonspecifically, induce states that fold in less than 30 s after Mg2+ is added to the RNA. A simple model is proposed that predicts the folding kinetics from the Mg2+-dependent change in the relative stabilities of the intermediate and native states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6149-6154
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume96
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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