Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

JILA Study Of RNA Dynamics May Help In Drug Design

Date:
July 29, 2005
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Biophysicists have developed a method for studying, in real time, a nanoscale "docking and undocking" interaction between small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a technique that may be broadly useful in studying structural changes in RNA that affect its function. The research at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of Colorado at Boulder, may have applications in the design of effective new drugs based on small RNA strands.

These false-color images show the behavior of about 30 to 40 single RNA molecules tagged with fluorescent dyes in the absence of magnesium (left) and with high magnesium concentrations (right). Green indicates that the tagged molecules are farther apart (undocked) whereas red indicates they are closer together (docked), showing that magnesium promotes docking.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Institute of Standards and Technology

Biophysicists have developed a method for studying, in real time, a nanoscale "docking and undocking" interaction between small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a technique that may be broadly useful in studying structural changes in RNA that affect its function. The research at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of Colorado at Boulder, may have applications in the design of effective new drugs based on small RNA strands.

RNA is a chain-like molecule that contains genetic information, makes proteins and catalyzes biological reactions. Scientists at JILA are studying RNA using methods that reveal how individual chemical units of RNA dock, or lightly and temporarily bond, to form special three-dimensional shapes that exhibit biochemical activity. The latest work, to be published the week of July 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,* adds to understanding of the intramolecular "stickiness" between specific loops and sequences in the RNA that help stabilize this folding. This type of information is crucial to understanding RNA structure and, ultimately, how it affects function.

The JILA group developed a simple model system for studying the reversible docking of a small piece of RNA at a receptor site in the same molecule. They used a technique called fluorescence resonance energy transfer, in which the two pieces of RNA are labeled with different dyes that have overlapping emission bands. One dye emits light of the same color that the other dye absorbs; the second dye then emits light of a different color. One piece of RNA is excited by a laser and, when the two pieces are close enough together to dock, passes energy to the other one, which then fluoresces. This method was used to measure the distance between the two pieces of RNA as it varied from less than 4 nanometers in the docked state to about 7 nm in the undocked state.

The scientists used ultrasensitive laser-based microscopy methods to image many isolated RNA molecules simultaneously, in effect generating a "movie" of single molecule docking kinetics in real time. They used this method to study thousands of pieces of RNA over time scales of 10 to 30 seconds, and observed about two-thirds of them rapidly docking and undocking. The rates of docking and undocking were measured as a function of the concentration of magnesium ions in the surrounding fluid, revealing a complex dependence on metal ions, as is typical for RNA. The docking rate rose 12-fold as magnesium concentrations increased. A significant number of molecules still docked in the absence of magnesium--the first time this phenomenon has been observed, according to the paper.

###

The research is supported by NIST, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the W.M. Keck Foundation initiative in RNA science at CU-Boulder.

*J.H. Hodak, J.L. Fiore, D.J. Nesbitt, C.D. Downey and A. Pardi. 2005. Docking kinetics and equilibrium of a GAAA tetraloop-receptor motif probed by single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Week of July 11.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "JILA Study Of RNA Dynamics May Help In Drug Design." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050726130144.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2005, July 29). JILA Study Of RNA Dynamics May Help In Drug Design. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050726130144.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "JILA Study Of RNA Dynamics May Help In Drug Design." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050726130144.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is It a Plane? No, It's a Hoverbike

Is It a Plane? No, It's a Hoverbike

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) UK-based Malloy Aeronautics is preparing to test a manned quadcopter capable of out-manouvering a helicopter and presenting a new paradigm for aerial vehicles. A 1/3-sized scale model is already gaining popularity with drone enthusiasts around the world, with the full-sized manned model expected to take flight in the near future. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins