Infoscience

Journal article

Conformational dynamics of bistable RNAs studied by time-resolved NMR spectroscopy

The structural transition between two alternate conformations of bistable RNAs has been characterized by time-resolved NMR spectroscopy. The mechanism, kinetics, and thermodynamics underlying the global structural transition of bistable RNAs were delineated. Both bistable RNA conformations and a partial unstructured RNA of identical sequence could be trapped using photolabile protecting groups. This trapping allowed for an investigation of the initial folding from an unfolded RNA to one of the preferred conformations of the bistable RNA and of the structural transitions involved. Folding of the secondary structure elements occurs rapidly, while the global structural transition of the bistable RNA occurs on a time scale of minutes and shows marked temperature dependence. Comparison of these results with bistable systems previously investigated leads to the prediction of activation enthalpies (Delta H-double dagger) associated with global structural transitions in RNA.

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