RNA seeing double: close-packing of helices in RNA tertiary structure

Trends Biochem Sci. 1997 Jul;22(7):262-6. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(97)01056-6.


Structured RNA molecules play essential roles in RNA processing, chromosome maintenance and protein biosynthesis. RNA necessarily uses different strategies than proteins for folding and assembly of complex architectures. The RNA-folding problem is largely an issue of helical packing: how does RNA organize and pack short, double-helical segments to produce active sites and recognition motifs for proteins? Noncanonical base pairs, metal ions and 2'-hydroxyl groups are key elements in RNA higher-order structure formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Composition
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA / chemistry*


  • Proteins
  • RNA