Metals, motifs, and recognition in the crystal structure of a 5S rRNA domain

Cell. 1997 Nov 28;91(5):705-12. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80457-2.


Two new RNA structures portray how non-Watson-Crick base pairs and metal ions can produce a unique RNA shape suitable for recognition by proteins. The crystal structures of a 62 nt domain of E. coli 5S ribosomal RNA and a duplex dodecamer encompassing an internal loop E have been determined at 3.0 and 1.5 A, respectively. This loop E region is distorted by three "cross-strand purine stacks" and three novel, water-mediated noncanonical base pairs and stabilized by a four metal ion zipper. These features give its minor groove a unique hydrogen-bonding surface and make the adjacent major groove wide enough to permit recognition by the ribosomal protein L25, which is expected to bind to this surface.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Crystallography
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Ions
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Purines / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5S / chemistry*


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Ions
  • Metals
  • Purines
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5S