Modular assembly of chimeric phi29 packaging RNAs that support DNA packaging

Yun Fang, Dan Shu, Feng Xiao, Peixuan Guo, Peter Z. Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging motor is a protein/RNA complex that can produce strong force to condense the linear-double-stranded DNA genome into a pre-formed protein capsid. The RNA component, called the packaging RNA (pRNA), utilizes magnesium-dependent inter-molecular base-pairing interactions to form ring-shaped complexes. The pRNA is a class of non-coding RNA, interacting with phi29 motor proteins to enable DNA packaging. Here, we report a two-piece chimeric pRNA construct that is fully competent in interacting with partner pRNA to form ring-shaped complexes, in packaging DNA via the motor, and in assembling infectious phi29 virions in vitro. This is the first example of a fully functional pRNA assembled using two non-covalently interacting fragments. The results support the notion of modular pRNA architecture in the phi29 packaging motor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-594
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteriophage
  • DNA packaging
  • Non-coding RNA
  • Packaging RNA
  • Packaging motor
  • RNA assembly
  • phi29

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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