Nucleotide binding architecture for secreted cytotoxic endoribonucleases

Ester Boix, Jose A. Blanco, M. Victòria Nogués, Mohammed Moussaoui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebrate secreted RNases are small cationic protein endowed with an endoribonuclease activity that belong to the RNase A superfamily and display diverse cytotoxic activities. In an effort to unravel their mechanism of action, we have analysed their nucleotide binding recognition patterns. General shared features with other nucleotide binding proteins were deduced from overall statistics on the available structure complexes at the Protein Data Bank and compared with the particularities of selected representative endoribonuclease families. Results were compared with other endoribonuclease representative families and with the overall protein-nucleotide interaction features. Preferred amino acids and atom types involved in pair bonding interactions were identified, defining the spatial motives for phosphate, base and ribose building blocks. Together with the conserved catalytic triad at the active site, variability was observed for secondary binding subsites that may contribute to the proper substrate alignment and could explain the distinct substrate preference patterns. Highly conserved binding patterns were identified for the pyrimidine and purine subsites at the main and secondary base subsites. Particular substitution could be ascribed to specific adenine or guanine specificities. Distribution of evolutionary conserved residues were compared to search for the structure determinants that underlie their diverse catalytic efficiency and those that may account for putative physiological substrate targets or other non-catalytic biological activities that contribute to the antipathogen role of the RNases involved in the host defence system. A side by side comparison with another endoribonuclease superfamily of secreted cytotoxic proteins, the microbial RNases, was carried on to analyse the common features and peculiarities that rule their substrate recognition. The data provides the structural basis for the development of applied therapies targeting cellular nucleotide polymers. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1097
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Microbial RNases
  • Nucleotide binding proteins
  • RNase A superfamily
  • Structure complexes
  • Substrate subsites


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