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Structures of Artificially Designed RNA Nanoarchitectures at Near-Atomic Resolution

submitted on 06.10.2020 and posted on 06.10.2020 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


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