Nucleotide correlations that suggest tertiary interactions in the TV-replacement loop-containing mitochondrial tRNAs of the nematodes, Caenorhabditis elegans and Ascaris suum

Nucleic Acids Res. 1994 Oct 11;22(20):4300-6. doi: 10.1093/nar/22.20.4300.


In the predicted secondary structures of 20 of the 22 tRNAs encoded in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules of the nematodes, Caenorhabditis elegans and Ascaris suum, the T psi C arm and variable loop are replaced with a loop of 6 to 12 nucleotides: the TV-replacement loop. From considerations of patterns of nucleotide correlations in the central regions of these tRNAs, it seems highly likely that tertiary interactions occur within five sets of binary and ternary combinations of nucleotides that correspond in location to nucleotides known to be involved in tertiary interactions in yeast tRNA(Phe) and other standard tRNAs. These observations are consistent with the nematode TV-replacement loop-containing mt-tRNAs being folded into a similar L-shaped functional form to that demonstrated for standard tRNAs, and for the bovine DHU (dihydrouridine) arm replacement-loop-containing mt-tRNA(Ser(AGY)). However, the apparent occurrence in nematode mt-tRNAs of tertiary bonds common to standard tRNAs contrasts with the situation in bovine mt-tRNA(Ser(AGY)) where the functional form is dependent on an almost unique set of tertiary interactions. Because three of the proposed conserved tertiary interactions in the nematode mt-tRNAs involve nucleotides that occur in the variable loop in standard tRNAs, it seems more likely that in nematode mt-tRNAs it is the T psi C arm rather than the variable loop that has undergone the greatest proportional decrease in nucleotide number.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascaris suum / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Cattle
  • DNA, Helminth / chemistry
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • RNA, Helminth / chemistry
  • RNA, Transfer / chemistry*
  • RNA, Transfer, Phe / chemistry
  • RNA, Transfer, Ser / chemistry


  • DNA, Helminth
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Transfer, Phe
  • RNA, Transfer, Ser
  • RNA, Transfer

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X54252
  • GENBANK/X54253