Unusual properties of two branched RNA's with circular and linear components

Andrea D. Branch, Bonnie J. Benenfeld, Hugh D. Robertson

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Irradiation with ultraviolet light was used to create two nonlinear RNA molecules. Circular potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTV) RNA was crosslinked at a single site to generate a figure eight-shaped molecule; 5S rRNA from HeLa cells was transformed into an alpba-shaped molecule with a small circular element and two arms (1). Crosslinked RNA's could be separated from their untreated counterparts by electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gels containing urea. The gel mobility of crosslinked PSTV was not altered by boiling, treatment with E. coli RNase III or glyoxalation. However, mild nuclease digestion ("nicking") produced derivatives which migrated more slowly than the starting material in gels of certain polyacrylamide concentrations, but not in others. Limited nuclease digestion of crosslinked 55 rRNA did not generate any detectable products with reduced mobility in the gels tested. Thus, the ability of the "nicking assay" to reveal circular elements within nonlinear RNA's can vary depending upon the composition of the gel chosen for analysis and on the size of the circular element relative to the rest of the molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4889-4903
Number of pages15
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - 11 Jul 1985
Externally publishedYes


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