Structure of an Archaeal Homolog of the Human Protein Complex Rpp21-Rpp29 That Is a Key Core Component for the Assembly of Active Ribonuclease P

Takashi Honda, Yoshimitsu Kakuta, Kazumi Kimura, Jyotaro Saho, Makoto Kimura

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ribonucleoprotein complex involved in the processing of the 5′-leader sequence of precursor tRNA. Human RNase P protein subunits Rpp21 and Rpp29, which bind to each other, with catalytic RNA (H1 RNA) are sufficient for activating endonucleolytic cleavage of precursor tRNA. Here we have determined the crystal structure of the complex between the Pyrococcus horikoshii RNase P proteins PhoRpp21 and PhoRpp29, the archaeal homologs of Rpp21 and Rpp29, respectively. PhoRpp21 and PhoRpp29 form a heterodimeric structure where the two N-terminal helices (α1 and α2) in PhoRpp21 predominantly interact with the N-terminal extended structure, the β-strand (β2), and the C-terminal helix (α3) in PhoRpp29. The interface is dominated by hydrogen bonds and several salt bridges, rather than hydrophobic interactions. The electrostatic potential on the surface of the heterodimer shows a positively charged cluster on one face, suggesting a possible RNA-binding surface of the PhoRpp21-PhoRpp29 complex. The present structure, along with the result of a mutational analysis, suggests that heterodimerization between PhoRpp21 and PhoRpp29 plays an important role in the function of P. horikoshii RNase P.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-662
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 19 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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