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1.  Tuning Riboswitch Regulation through Conformational Selection 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;405(4):926-938.
The SMK box riboswitch, which represents one of three known classes of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM)-responsive riboswitches, regulates gene expression in bacteria at the level of translation initiation. In contrast to most riboswitches, which contain separate domains responsible for ligand recognition and gene regulation, the ligand-binding and regulatory domains of the SMK box riboswitch are coincident. This property was exploited to allow the first atomic-level characterization of a functionally intact riboswitch in both the ligand-bound and ligand-free states. NMR spectroscopy revealed distinct mutually exclusive RNA conformations that are differentially populated in the presence or absence of the effector metabolite. Isothermal titration calorimetry and in vivo reporter assay results revealed the thermodynamic and functional consequences of this conformational equilibrium. We present a comprehensive model of the structural, thermodynamic, and functional properties of this compact RNA regulatory element.
PMCID: PMC3019289  PMID: 21075119
RNA; NMR spectroscopy; isothermal titration calorimetry; gene regulation; pre-existing equilibrium; riboswitch
2.  Assembly of the Complex between Archaeal RNase P Proteins RPP30 and Pop5 
Archaea  2011;2011:891531.
RNase P is a highly conserved ribonucleoprotein enzyme that represents a model complex for understanding macromolecular RNA-protein interactions. Archaeal RNase P consists of one RNA and up to five proteins (Pop5, RPP30, RPP21, RPP29, and RPP38/L7Ae). Four of these proteins function in pairs (Pop5-RPP30 and RPP21–RPP29). We have used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to characterize the interaction between Pop5 and RPP30 from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (Pfu). NMR backbone resonance assignments of free RPP30 (25 kDa) indicate that the protein is well structured in solution, with a secondary structure matching that observed in a closely related crystal structure. Chemical shift perturbations upon the addition of Pop5 (14 kDa) reveal its binding surface on RPP30. ITC experiments confirm a net 1 : 1 stoichiometry for this tight protein-protein interaction and exhibit complex isotherms, indicative of higher-order binding. Indeed, light scattering and size exclusion chromatography data reveal the complex to exist as a 78 kDa heterotetramer with two copies each of Pop5 and RPP30. These results will inform future efforts to elucidate the functional role of the Pop5-RPP30 complex in RNase P assembly and catalysis.
PMCID: PMC3227427  PMID: 22162665

Results 1-2 (2)