Emerging structural themes in large RNA molecules

Nicholas J. Reiter, Clarence W. Chan, Alfonso Mondragón*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Extensive networks of tertiary interactions give rise to unique, highly organized domain architectures that characterize the three-dimensional structure of large RNA molecules. Formed by stacked layers of a near-planar arrangement of contiguous coaxial helices, large RNA molecules are relatively flat in overall shape. The functional core of these molecules is stabilized by a diverse set of tertiary interaction motifs that often bring together distant regions of conserved nucleotides. Although homologous RNAs from different organisms can be structurally diverse, they adopt a structurally conserved functional core that includes preassembled active and/or substrate binding sites. These findings broaden our understanding of RNA folding and tertiary structure stabilization, illustrating how large, complex RNAs assemble into unique structures to perform recognition and catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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