2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Molecular Orbital Interactions in the Anticodon of Transfer RNA
Nicholas H. Hopkins
Dr. Maria Nagan and Dr. Eric V. Patterson, Faculty Mentors

Transfer RNA (tRNA) is essential in the process of translation, the synthesis of proteins via information contained in the genetic code. A thermodynamically stable structure is required for tRNA to operate and incorporate the correct amino acid into the growing peptide chain. The bases in the anticodon region of tRNA have been shown to form an unusual stair-stepped conformation. Molecular orbital interactions between consecutive bases of the anticodon are thought to provide thermodynamic stability. The stabilizing effects of orbital interactions in the anticodon region were investigated using density functional theory at the M06-2X/6-31+G(d,p) level. Natural bond order (NBO) analysis was employed to examine interactions within the tRNA bases in full and partial anticodon structures. Interactions were compared to standardized base structures. Future results will lead to a better understanding of the stabilization effects of the stair-stepped conformation and the stabilizing effects of modified bases at the 37th base position.

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


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 52-2
Location: MG 1098
Time: 3:00

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