Preglov kolokvij na Kemijskem inštitutu: Synthetic RNA Chemistry – Ribozymes and Riboswitches
Kemijski inštitut organizira v okviru Preglovega kolokvija v četrtek, 21. aprila ob 13h v Veliki predavalnici predavanje z naslovom Synthetic RNA Chemistry – Ribozymes and Riboswitches. Predaval bo prof. dr. Ronald Micura z Univerze v Innsbrucku, Avstija
Methylation is a prevalent post-transcriptional modification encountered in coding and non-coding RNA. For RNA methylation, cells use methyltransferases and small organic substances as methyl-group donors, such as S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). SAM and other nucleotide-derived cofactors are viewed as evolutionary leftovers from an RNA world, in which riboswitches have regulated, and ribozymes have catalyzed essential metabolic reactions. We disclose the thus far unrecognized direct link between a present-day riboswitch and its inherent reactivity for site-specific methylation. The key is O6-methyl pre-queuosine (m6preQ1), a potentially prebiotic nucleobase which is recognized by the native aptamer of a preQ1 class-I riboswitch. Upon binding, the transfer of the ligand’s methyl group to a specific cytidine occurs, installing 3-methylcytidine (m3C) in the RNA pocket under release of pre-queuosine (preQ1). Our finding suggests that nucleic acid-mediated methylation is an ancient mechanism that has offered an early path for RNA epigenetics prior to the evolution of protein methyltransferases. Furthermore, our findings may pave the way for the development of riboswitch-descending methylation tools based on rational design as a powerful alternative to in vitro selection approaches.