A New Study Reveals RNA G-quadruplex Structures in Nature For First Time

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

During their research, the scientists of JIC used chemical structure profiling to determine hundreds of RNA G-quadruplex structures strongly folded in the model species Arabidopsis and in rice.

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  • Last Updated: September 4, 2020, 6:52 PM IST

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Scientists of John Innes Centre carried out research to show RNA G-quadruplex formation in genetic regions rich in guanine, which is one of the four constituent bases of nucleic acids, in lab conditions.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is often considered as linear and single-stranded, however, it can convert itself into more complex shapes. It is a molecule similar to DNA and its strand has a backbone made of alternating sugar (ribose) and phosphate groups.


Structures such as RNA G-quadruplexes have been found to be forming in laboratory conditions in the presence of a physiological concentration of potassium.

RNA G-quadruplexes, highly stable secondary structures, is said to have important biological relevance. Scientists are of the view that such structures must exist in nature.

Researchers until now have not found direct evidence of RNA G-quadruplex formation in living cells.

During their research, the scientists of JIC used chemical structure profiling to determine hundreds of RNA G-quadruplex structures strongly folded in the model species Arabidopsis and in rice.

Their study showed the first evidence of RNA G-quadruplex formation in living eukaryotic cells. The research titled “RNA G-quadruplex structures exist and function in vivo in plants” was published in Genome Biology.

“Our work over the past five years has tried to understand the structure of RNA inside the cell. For the first time we have answered the longstanding question about whether RNA G-quadruplex structures exist in living eukaryotic cells,” stated an author of the study, Dr Yiliang Ding.

He added that their next step will be to find out the individual regulatory roles of RNA G-quadruplex structures in growth, development and stress response of plants.

“Given that we have revealed the presence of a large number of RNA G-quadruplex structures in plants the next step is to unravel their individual regulatory roles in plant growth, development and stress response,” he said.



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