The k-junction is a structural motif in RNA comprising a three-way helical junction based upon kink turn (k-turn) architecture. A computer program written to examine relative helical orientation identified the three-way junction of the Arabidopsis TPP riboswitch as an elaborated k-turn. The Escherichia coli TPP riboswitch contains a related k-junction, and analysis of >11 000 sequences shows that the structure is common to these riboswitches. The k-junction exhibits all the key features of an N1-class k-turn, including the standard cross-strand hydrogen bonds. The third helix of the junction is coaxially aligned with the C (canonical) helix, while the k-turn loop forms the turn into the NC (non-canonical) helix. Analysis of ligand binding by ITC and global folding by gel electrophoresis demonstrates the importance of the k-turn nucleotides. Clearly the basic elements of k-turn structure are structurally well suited to generate a three-way helical junction, retaining all the key features and interactions of the k-turn. © 2014 © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.
Wang, J., Daldrop, P., Huang, L., & Lilley, D. M. J. (2014). The k-junction motif in RNA structure. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(8), 5322–5331. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gku144