Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 9973632
Nucleic Acids Res. 1999 Mar;27(5):1398-404
High resolution NMR data on UNCG and GNRA tetraloops (where N is any of the four nucleotides and R is a purine) have shown that they contain ribonucleosides with unusual 2′-endo/anti and 3′-endo/syn conformations, in addition to the 3′-endo/anti ones which are regularly encountered in RNA chains. In the current study, Raman spectroscopy has been used to probe these nucleoside conformations and follow the order (hairpin) to disorder (random chain) structural transitions in aqueous phase in the 5-80 degreesC temperature range. Spectral evolution of GCAA and GAAA tetraloops, as formed in very short hairpins with only three G.C base pairs in their stems (T m >60 degreesC), are reported and compared with those previously published on UUCG and UACG tetraloops, for which the syn orientation of the terminal guanine as well as the 2′-endo/anti conformation of the third rC residue have been confirmed by means of vibrational marker bands. Raman data obtained as a function of temperature show that the first uracil in the UUCG tetraloop is stacked and the two middle residues (rU and rC) are in the 2′-endo/anti conformation, in agreement with the previously published NMR results. As far as the new data concerning the GNRA type tetraloops are concerned, they lead us to conclude that: (i) in both cases (GCAA and GAAA tetraloops) the adenine bases are stacked; (ii) the second rC residue in the GCAA tetraloop has a 3′-endo/anti conformation; (iii) the sugar pucker associated with the third rA residue in both tetraloops possibly undergoes a 3′-endo/2′-endo interconversion as predicted by NMR results; (iv) the stem adopts a regular A-form structure; (v) all other nucleosides of these two GNRA tetraloops possess the usual 3′-endo/anti conformation.