A structural module in RNase P expands the variety of RNA kinks

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Abstract

RNA structures are built from recurrent modules that can be identified by structural and comparative sequence analysis. In order to assemble sets of helices in compact architectures, modules that introduce bends and kinks are necessary. Among such modules, kink-turns form an important family that presents sequence and structural characteristics. Here, we describe an internal loop in the bacterial type A RNase P RNA that sets helices bound at the junctions exactly in the same relative positions as in kink-turns but without the structural signatures typical of kink-turns. Our work suggests that identifying a structural module in a subset of RNA sequences constitutes a strategy to identify distinct sequential motifs sharing common structural characteristics.

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