Probing sequence-specific RNA recognition by the bacteriophage MS2 coat protein

P G Stockley, N J Stonehouse, J B Murray, S T Goodman, Simon Talbot, C J Adams, L Liljas, K Valegård

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the results of in vitro binding studies aimed at defining the key recognition elements on the MS2 RNA translational operator (TR) essential for complex formation with coat protein. We have used chemically synthesized operators carrying modified functional groups at defined nucleotide positions, which are essential for recognition by the phage coat protein. These experiments have been complemented with modification-binding interference assays. The results confirm that the complexes which form between TR and RNA-free phage capsids, the X-ray structure of which has recently been reported at 3.0 A, are identical to those which form in solution between TR and a single coat protein dimer. There are also effects on operator affinity which cannot be explained simply by the alteration of direct RNA-protein contacts and may reflect changes in the conformational equilibrium of the unliganded operator. The results also provide support for the approach of using modified oligoribonucleotides to investigate the details of RNA-ligand interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-8
Number of pages7
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Capsid
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Operon
  • Physicochemical Phenomena
  • RNA
  • RNA-Binding Proteins


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