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How RNA molecules fold into functional structures is a problem of great significance given the expanding list of essential cellular RNA enzymes and the increasing number of applications of RNA in biotechnology and medicine. A critical step toward solving the RNA folding problem is the characterization of the associated transition states. This is a(More)
The dynamic mechanisms by which RNAs acquire biologically functional structures are of increasing importance to the rapidly expanding fields of RNA therapeutics and biotechnology. Large energy barriers separating misfolded and functional states arising from alternate base pairing are a well-appreciated characteristic of RNA. In contrast, it is typically(More)
Single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) microscopy has become an increasingly popular tool to study the structural dynamics of RNA molecules. It reveals, in real time, the structural dynamics of these molecules that would be otherwise hidden in ensemble-averaged measurements. Here we present a detailed protocol for performing smFRET(More)
RNA is a ubiquitous biopolymer that performs a multitude of essential cellular functions involving the maintenance, transfer, and processing of genetic information. RNA is unique in that it can carry both genetic information and catalytic function. Its secondary structure domains, which fold stably and independently, assemble hierarchically into modular(More)
Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a bacterial second messenger important for physiologic adaptation and virulence. Class-I c-di-GMP riboswitches are phylogenetically widespread and thought to mediate pleiotropic genetic responses to the second messenger. Previous studies suggest that the RNA aptamer domain switches from an extended free state to a compact,(More)
Alternative splicing plays an important role in generating proteome diversity. The polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) is a key alternative splicing factor involved in exon repression. It has been proposed that PTB acts by looping out exons flanked by pyrimidine tracts. We present fluorescence, NMR, and in vivo splicing data in support of a role of(More)
Repair of DNA double strand breaks by homologous recombination (HR) is initiated by Rad51 filament nucleation on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), which catalyzes strand exchange with homologous duplex DNA. BRCA2 and the Rad51 paralogs are tumor suppressors and critical mediators of Rad51. To gain insight into Rad51 paralog function, we investigated a(More)
The hairpin ribozyme is a minimalist paradigm for studying RNA folding and function. In this enzyme, two domains dock by induced fit to form a catalytic core that mediates a specific backbone cleavage reaction. Here, we have fully dissected its reversible reaction pathway, which comprises two structural transitions (docking/undocking) and a chemistry step(More)
The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a human pathogen and satellite RNA of the hepatitis B virus. It utilizes a self-cleaving catalytic RNA motif to process multimeric intermediates in the double-rolling circle replication of its genome. Previous kinetic analyses have suggested that a particular cytosine residue (C(75)) with a pK(a) close to neutrality acts(More)