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Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1097:33-43. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-709-9_2.

The principles of RNA structure architecture.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Allied Health Bldg, 8403 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA,


Being informational, enzymatic, as well as a nanoscale molecular machine, ribonucleic acid (RNA) permeates all areas of biology and has been exploited in biotechnology as drug and sensor. Here we describe the composition and fundamental properties of RNA and how the single-stranded RNA chains fold and shape certain motifs that are repeatedly observed in different structures. Small and large molecular mass RNA binders are being touched upon, as is the technology for selecting RNA molecules in vitro that bind almost any kind of natural or artificial target. Recognizing the versatility of RNA is expected to foster the development of tools which monitor RNA in the environment, including plants, animals, and patients. Many of the noncoding RNAs are yet to be identified in the rapidly emerging genomes and assigned to functions. It is hoped that these and similar worthwhile goals will be achieved by integrating the efforts of bench and computer scientists.

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