Date: December 1989
Creator: Winker, S.; Overbeck, R.; Woese, Carl R.; Olsen, G. J. & Pfluger, N.
Description: This paper summarizes our investigations into the computational detection of secondary and tertiary structure of ribosomal RNA. We have developed a new automated procedure that not only identifies potential bondings of secondary and tertiary structure, but also provides the covariation evidence that supports the proposed bondings, and any counter-evidence that can be detected in the known sequences. A small number of previously unknown bondings have been detected in individual RNA molecules (16S rRNA and 7S RNA) through the use of our automated procedure. Currently, we are systematically studying mitochondrial rRNA. Our goal is to detect tertiary structure within 16S rRNA and quaternary structure between 16S and 23S rRNA. Our ultimate hope is that automated covariation analysis will contribute significantly to a refined picture of ribosome structure. Our colleagues in biology have begun experiments to test certain hypotheses suggested by an examination of our program's output. These experiments involve sequencing key portions of the 23S ribosomal RNA for species in which the known 16S ribosomal RNA exhibits variation (from the dominant pattern) at the site of a proposed bonding. The hope is that the 23S ribosomal RNA of these species will exhibit corresponding complementary variation or generalized covariation.
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