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Advances in experimental medicine and biology

RNA folding: structure prediction, folding kinetics and ion electrostatics.


PMID 25387965

Abstract

Beyond the "traditional" functions such as gene storage, transport and protein synthesis, recent discoveries reveal that RNAs have important "new" biological functions including the RNA silence and gene regulation of riboswitch. Such functions of noncoding RNAs are strongly coupled to the RNA structures and proper structure change, which naturally leads to the RNA folding problem including structure prediction and folding kinetics. Due to the polyanionic nature of RNAs, RNA folding structure, stability and kinetics are strongly coupled to the ion condition of solution. The main focus of this chapter is to review the recent progress in the three major aspects in RNA folding problem: structure prediction, folding kinetics and ion electrostatics. This chapter will introduce both the recent experimental and theoretical progress, while emphasize the theoretical modelling on the three aspects in RNA folding.