RNAs are involved in myriad cellular events. In general, RNA function is affected by cellular conditions. For instance, molecular crowding promotes RNA folding through compaction of the RNA. Metabolites generally destabilize RNA secondary structure, which improves RNA folding cooperativity and increases the fraction of functional RNA. Our recent studies demonstrate that cellular concentrations of amino acid-chelated magnesium (aaCM) stimulate RNA folding and catalysis while protecting RNAs from magnesium ion-induced degradation. However, effects of other cellular magnesium ion chelators on RNA function have not been tested. Herein, we report that nucleotide diphosphate-chelated magnesium, which is of intermediate strength, promotes RNA catalysis much like aaCM. Nucleotides are some of the major metabolites in cells and have one to three phosphates, which have increasingly tight binding of magnesium. On the basis of binding calculations, ?85% ATP, ?40% ADP, and only 5% AMP are estimated to possess a magnesium ion under cellular conditions of 0.50 mM Mg2+ free. We tested the self-cleaving activity of the hammerhead ribozyme in the presence of these chelated magnesium species. Our results indicate that NTP-chelated magnesium and NMP-chelated magnesium do not appreciably stimulate RNA catalysis, whereas NDP-chelated magnesium promotes RNA catalysis up to 6.5-fold. Inspired by NDP, we observed similar stimulatory effects for several other Mg2+ diphosphate-containing metabolites, including UDP-GlcNAC and UDP-Glc; in addition, we found similar effects for a DNAzyme. Thus, rate stimulatory effects are general with respect to the diphosphate and nucleic acid enzyme. These results implicate magnesium-chelated diphosphate metabolites as general facilitators of RNA function inside cells.
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