Double-stranded RNA bending by AU-tract sequences

Alberto Marin-Gonzalez, Clara Aicart-Ramos, Mikel Marin-Baquero, Alejandro Martín-González, Maarit Suomalainen, Abhilash Kannan, J. G. Vilhena, Urs F. Greber, Fernando Moreno-Herrero and Rubén Pérez.

Abstract: Sequence-dependent structural deformations of the DNA double helix (dsDNA) have been extensively
studied, where adenine tracts (A-tracts) provide a striking example for global bending in the molecule. In
contrast to dsDNA, much less is known about how the nucleotide sequence affects bending deformations
of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Using all-atom microsecond long molecular dynamics simulations we
found a sequence motif consisting of alternating adenines and uracils, or AU-tracts, that bend the dsRNA
helix by locally compressing the major groove. We experimentally tested this prediction using atomic force
microscopy (AFM) imaging of long dsRNA molecules containing phased AU-tracts. AFM images revealed a
clear intrinsic bend in these AU-tracts molecules, as quantified by a significantly lower persistence length
compared to dsRNA molecules of arbitrary sequence. The bent structure of AU-tracts here described might
play a role in sequence-specific recognition of dsRNAs by dsRNA-interacting proteins or impact the folding
of RNA into intricate tertiary and quaternary structures.

Link a la publicación.

Reunión anual del consorcio Tec4Bio

El pasado martes 8 de octubre de 2019 tuvo lugar la primera reunión científica del consorcio Tec4Bio-CM, en el Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (Campus Universidad Autónoma).

En esta reunión, los investigadores pre y postdoctorales de los distintos grupos presentaron los últimos avances en los proyectos que se desarrollan en el marco del consorcio. Además, se discutieron aspectos que fomenten la colaboración entre los grupos.