RNA structure determination by solid-state NMR spectroscopy

Alexander Marchanka, Bernd Simon, Gerhard Althoff-Ospelt, Teresa Carlomagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge of the RNA three-dimensional structure, either in isolation or as part of RNP complexes, is fundamental to understand the mechanism of numerous cellular processes. Because of its flexibility, RNA represents a challenge for crystallization, while the large size of cellular complexes brings solution-state NMR to its limits. Here, we demonstrate an alternative approach on the basis of solid-state NMR spectroscopy. We develop a suite of experiments and RNA labeling schemes and demonstrate for the first time that ssNMR can yield a RNA structure at high-resolution. This methodology allows structural analysis of segmentally labelled RNA stretches in high-molecular weight cellular machines—independent of their ability to crystallize—and opens the way to mechanistic studies of currently difficult-to-access RNA-protein assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7024
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2015


  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy/methods
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA/chemistry
  • Ribonucleoproteins


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