8-Vinyl-2′-deoxyadenosine (8vdA) is a fluorophore with a quantum yield comparable to that of 2-aminopurine nucleoside. 8vdA was incorporated into a 10-mer stem-tetraloop RNA (8vdA-10) structure for characterization of the properties of the base, 8-vinyladenine (8-vA), with respect to adenine as a substrate or inhibitor for ribosome-inactivating proteins. Ricin toxin A-chain (RTA) and pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) catalyze the release of adenine from a specific adenosine on a stem-tetraloop (GAGA) sequence at the elongation factor (eEF2) binding site of the 28S subunit of eukaryotic ribosomes, thereby arresting translation. RTA does not catalyze the release of 8-vinyladenine from 8vdA-10. Molecular dynamics simulations implicate a role for Arg180 in oxacarbenium ion destabilization and the lack of catalysis. However, 8vdA-10 is an active site analogue and inhibits RTA with a Ki value of 2.4 μM. Adenine is also released from the second adenosine in the modified tetraloop, demonstrating an alternative mode for the binding of this motif in the RTA active site. The 8vdA analogue defines the specificities of RTA for the two adenylate depurination sites in a RNA substrate with a GAGA tetraloop. The rate of nonenzymatic acid-catalyzed solvolysis of 8-vinyladenine from the stem-loop RNA is described. Unlike RTA, PAP catalyzes the slow release of 8-vinyladenine from 8vdA-10. The isolation of 8-vA and its physicochemical characterization is described.
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