Spectroscopic probes of RNA structure and dynamics

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A single technique is insufficient to characterize the properties of an RNA molecule so this Guide provides advice and suggestions for use of several spectroscopic methods applied to RNA. It begins with a discussion of design features to synthesize a suitable molecule for study, assuming that the reader is familiar with in vitro enzymatic and chemical synthesis of RNA. With the RNA in hand, the application of UV melting studies to characterize its folding/unfolding transitions is presented, followed by instructions for fluorescence experiments to augment the UV data. Since RNAs are flexible molecules, it is important to characterize their mobility, and so time-resolved fluorescence data are analyzed. A brief exposition of the power of NMR spectroscopy to identify ion-binding sites is provided. RNA examples are described for each method to give a perspective on what can and cannot be learned.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpectroscopic Methods of Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781617798054
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • 2-aminopurine fluorescence
  • Imino protons
  • Ion binding
  • RNA hairpin
  • UV melting


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