Publication – Wachtveitl, Suess

Tetracycline Determines the Conformation of Its Aptamer at Physiological Magnesium Concentrations.

Reuss AJ, Vogel M, Weigand JE, Suess B, Wachtveitl J. Biophys J. 2014 Dec 16. Abstract or full publication here.

Synthetic riboswitches are versatile tools for the study and manipulation of biological systems. Yet, the underlying mechanisms governing its structural properties and regulation under physiological conditions are poorly studied. We performed spectroscopic and calorimetric experiments to explore the folding kinetics and thermodynamics of the tetracycline-binding aptamer, which can be employed as synthetic riboswitch, in the range of physiological magnesium concentrations. The dissociation constant of the ligand-aptamer complex was found to strongly depend on the magnesium concentration. At physiological magnesium concentrations, tetracycline induces a significant conformational shift from a compact, but heterogeneous intermediate state toward the completely formed set of tertiary interactions defining the regulation-competent structure. Thus, the switching functionality of the tetracycline-binding aptamer appears to include both a conformational rearrangement toward the regulation-competent structure and its thermodynamic stabilization.