RNA dynamics: it is about time

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2008 Jun;18(3):321-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 Jun 9.


Many recently discovered RNA functions rely on highly complex multistep conformational transitions that occur in response to an array of cellular signals. These dynamics accompany and guide, for example, RNA cotranscriptional folding, ligand sensing and signaling, site-specific catalysis in ribozymes, and the hierarchically ordered assembly of ribonucleoproteins. RNA dynamics are encoded by both the inherent properties of RNA structure, spanning many motional modes with a large range of amplitudes and timescales, and external trigger factors, ranging from proteins, nucleic acids, metal ions, metabolites, and vitamins to temperature and even directional RNA biosynthesis itself. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of RNA dynamics as highlighted by biophysical tools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA