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Structures of Artificially Designed RNA Nanoarchitectures at Near-Atomic Resolution

submitted on 06.10.2020, 07:47 and posted on 06.10.2020, 12:18 by Di Liu, Yaming Shao, Joseph A. Piccirilli, Yossi Weizmann

Though advances in nanotechnology have enabled the construction of synthetic nucleic acid based nanoarchitectures with ever-increasing complexity for various applications, high-resolution structures are lacking due to the difficulty of obtaining good diffracting crystals. Here we report the design of RNA nanostructures based on homooligomerizable tiles from an RNA single-strand for X-ray determination. Three structures are solved to near-atomic resolution: a 2D parallelogram, an unexpectedly formed 3D nanobracelet, and a 3D nanocage. Structural details of their constituent motifs—such as kissing loops, branched kissing-loops and T-junctions—that resemble natural RNA motifs and resisted X-ray determination are revealed. This work unveils the largely unexplored potential of crystallography in gaining high-resolution feedback for nanostructure design and suggests a novel route to investigate RNA motif structures by configuring them into nanoarchitectures.


CAREER: Programmable Artificial DNA Topology for Biological and Medical Applications

Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Chaperone-Assisted RNA Crystallography

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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NE-CAT Center for Advanced Macromolecular Crystallography

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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Email Address of Submitting Author


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest