2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Stabilization Effects of Nonstandard Nitrogenous Bases in Transfer RNA
Emily C. Hopson* and Nick H. Hopkins
Dr. Maria Nagan and Dr. Eric V. Patterson, Faculty Mentors

Transfer RNA (tRNA) is essential in the process of translation, in which information in the genetic code is used to synthesize proteins. A thermodynamically stable structure is essential for tRNA to operate and incorporate the correct amino acid in the growing peptide chain. The bases in the anticodon region of tRNA have been shown to form an unusual stair-stepped conformation. Naturally occurring nonstandard bases are often found in the 34th and 37th positions of this region and are thought to provide thermodynamic stability. The stability effects of nonstandard bases in the anticodon region were investigated using density functional theory, at the M05-2X/6-31+G(d,p) level. Natural bond order (NBO) analysis was employed to examine interactions within the tRNA nonstandard bases in the 37th position. Future results will lead to a better understanding of the stabilization effects of the stair-stepped conformation, and the stabilization effects of modified bases in the 37th position.

Keywords: transfer RNA, tRNA, biochemistry, bases, computational, amino acid, translation

Topic(s):Chemistry

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-3
Location: VH 1236
Time: 8:45

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