RNA assembly facilitated by long-range interactions and implications for RNA nanotechnology
RNA nanotechnology is a growing field of research that aims to harness the functional potential of RNA for specific applications. The function of an RNA can be directly related to the native structure of the molecule, defined by combinations of recurrent structural building blocks termed motifs. Long-range assembly motifs are of critical importance during RNA folding and assembly. These long-range modules are often required for a molecule to find and stabilize its native fold, and can provide a means for intermolecular recognition and assembly. In the research presented here, we work to characterize specific long-range interactions derived from various natural RNAs, with a goal to understand their roles in RNA assembly and function. Characterization of assembly modules was performed primarily through biophysical techniques utilizing rationally designed RNA scaffolds. By improving our understanding of natural RNA assembly modules, we hope to garner insights concerning molecular design and regulation which could be of use for future endeavors in RNA nanotechnology.