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Biochemistry. 1991 Jul 2;30(26):6428-36.

Thermodynamic study of internal loops in oligoribonucleotides: symmetric loops are more stable than asymmetric loops.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, New York 14627.


Thermodynamic parameters for internal loops of unpaired adenosines in oligoribonucleotides have been measured by optical melting studies. Comparisons are made between helices containing symmetric and asymmetric loops. Asymmetric loops destabilize a helix more than symmetric loops. The differences in free energy between symmetric and asymmetric loops are roughly half the magnitude suggested from a study of parameters required to give accurate predictions of RNA secondary structure [Papanicolaou, C., Gouy, M., & Ninio, J. (1984) Nucleic Acids Res. 12, 31-44]. Circular dichroism spectra indicate no major structural difference between helices containing symmetric and asymmetric loops. The measured sequence dependence of internal loop stability is not consistent with approximations used in current algorithms for predicting RNA secondary structure.

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