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REVIEW: Features and Functions of the A-Minor Motif, the Most Common Motif in RNA Structure

Eugene F. Baulin1,2

1Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology RAS – the Branch of Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia

2Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 141701 Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received May 5, 2021; Revised June 13, 2021; Accepted June 13, 2021
A-minor motifs are RNA tertiary structure motifs that generally involve a canonical base pair and an adenine base forming hydrogen bonds with the minor groove of the base pair. Such motifs are among the most common tertiary interactions in known RNA structures, comparable in number with the non-canonical base pairs. They are often found in functionally important regions of non-coding RNAs and, in particular, play a central role in protein synthesis. Here, we review local variations of the A-minor geometry and discuss difficulties associated with their annotation, as well as various structural contexts and common A-minor co-motifs, and diverse functions of A-minors in various processes in a living cell.
KEY WORDS: RNA structure, tertiary motif, A-minor interaction, A-minor motif, A-patch

DOI: 10.1134/S000629792108006X