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Folding of small RNAs displaying the GNC base-pattern: implications for the self-organization of the genetic system
KTH, Superseded Departments, Physics.
2004 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, ISSN 0022-5193, E-ISSN 1095-8541, Vol. 227, no 3, 381-395 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Theoretical arguments and statistical analyses of present-day coding sequences have long suggested the existence of primitive patterns in RNA sequences, which were thought to have been predominant at the time of the origin of the genetic code. The main propositions were centered around the base-patterns GNC and RNY, where R = A or G, Y = C or U and N = A, G, C or U. A theoretical model of the primitive process of translation explaining the origin of this type of pattern was recently published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. On the basis of this previous analysis.. and on physico-chemical evidence supporting the idea of the GNC base-pattern as the most primitive one, the present paper shows the results of folding simulations of small RNA strands displaying this pattern, which enabled us to specify the characteristics of the suggested primitive form of tRNA. This analysis is notably based on a conjecture of Eigen and Schuster of an early structural (or pattern) similarity between mRNA and tRNA, and, more specifically, of a "joint function of messenger and adaptor". Working with this conjecture, we show that the convergence of the primitive pool of RNAs toward a system containing a high proportion of sequences displaying the GNC base-pattern (according to the evolutionary model) is accompanied by a significant gain in stability of the translation process. In particular, it is demonstrated how the reading frame would be automatically discriminated without the presence of a start codon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 227, no 3, 381-395 p.
Keyword [en]
genetic code, primitive coding pattern, self-organization, origin of life
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-44995DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2003.11.015ISI: 000220513700009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-1542358788OAI: diva2:452574
QC 20111031Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-26 Last updated: 2011-10-31Bibliographically approved

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