A model for base overlap in RNA

Phillip Cruz, Edward Bubienko, Philip N. Borer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Duplexed RNA in the solid state conforms to the A-family of structures with 3′-endo sugars and bases arranged outside the helix axis in a spiral staircase arrangement1-4. Recent experiments5-11 suggest that parameters of RNA and DNA helices depend on the sequence of bases in the chain. Furthermore, the average conformation of these flexible molecules may differ between the solution and solid states. The NMR chemical shifts of the base protons in ten oligo-RNA duplexes5,12-18 have been determined. We have now adjusted the helix winding angle, W, between adjacent base pairs (see Fig. 1a) to fit these data. There is extensive overlap of the hydrophobic surfaces of the bases at the proposed angles. These overlaps depend on the arrangement of purines and pyrimidines along the chain and offer a mechanism for recognition of specific sequences by enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-200
Number of pages3
Issue number5870
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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