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Nature. 1984 Oct 11-17;311(5986):584-6.

'Z-RNA'--a left-handed RNA double helix.


In contrast to double-stranded DNA, there has so far been little evidence that double-stranded RNA can undergo major conformational transitions. We have investigated the conformation in different conditions of the double-stranded RNA molecule poly(G-C).poly(G-C), by NMR, circular dichroism and absorbance spectroscopy. We report here evidence obtained by these different spectroscopic techniques that poly(G-C).poly(G-C) undergoes a transition from the A-form to a left-handed Z-form in conditions of high ionic strength and at temperatures above 35 degrees C. This conformational transition may be of relevance to the biological situations in which double-stranded RNA occurs, such as in ribosomes and in some viruses.

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