Chemistry Faculty Publications


Engineering Cooperative Tecto-RNA Complexes Having Programmable Stoichiometries

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High affinity and specificity RNA–RNA binding interfaces can be constructed by combining pairs of GNRA loop/loop–receptor interaction motifs. These interactions can be fused using flexible four-way junction motifs to create divalent, self-assembling scaffolding units (‘tecto-RNA’) that have favorable properties for nanomedicine and other applications. We describe the design and directed assembly of tecto-RNA units ranging from closed, cooperatively assembling ring-shaped complexes of programmable stoichiometries (dimers, trimers and tetramers) to open multimeric structures. The novelty of this work is that tuning of the stoichiometries of self-assembled complexes is achieved by precise positioning of the interaction motifs in the monomer units rather than changing their binding specificities. Structure-probing and transmission electron microscopy studies as well as thermodynamic analysis support formation of closed cooperative complexes that are highly resistant to nuclease digestion. The present designs provide two helical arms per RNA monomer for further functionalization aims.

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Availability via databases maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine.

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Nucleic Acids Research

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