Prediction of secondary structures of 16S and 23S rRNA from Escherichia coli

A. S. Kolaskar, Alphonse Thangavel Thanaraj, M. W. Pandit

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Small and large subunits of Escherichia coli ribosome have three different rRNAs, the sequences of which are known. However, attempts by three groups to predict secondary structures of 16S and 23S rRNAs have certain common limitations namely, these structures are predicted assuming no interactions among various domains of the molecule and only 40% residues are involved in base pairing as against the experimental observation of 60 % residues in base paired state. Recent experimental studies have shown that there is a specific interaction between naked 16S and 23S rRNA molecules. This is significant because we have observed that the regions (oligonucleotides of length 9-10 residues), in 16S rRNA which are complementary to those in 23S rRNA do not have internal complementary sequences. Therefore, we have developed a simple graph theoretical approach to predict secondary structures of 16S and 23S rRNAs. Our method for model building not only uses complete sequence of 16S or 23S rRNA molecule along with other experimental observations but also takes into account the observation that specific recognition is possible through the complementary sequences between 16S and 23S rRNA molecules and, therefore, these parts of the molecules are not used for internal base pairing. The method used to predict secondary structures is discussed. A typical secondary structure of the complex between 16S and 23S rRNA molecules, obtained using our method, is presented and compared Briefly with earlier model Building studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-798
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biosciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1985


  • 16S-23S RNA complex
  • nucleic acid-nucleic acid interaction
  • RNA secondary structure


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