RNA STRUCTURE

A fluorescent tool for tagging RNA

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  08 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6197, pp. 634-635
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6197.634-c

A fluorescent tool for tagging RNA, green fluorescent protein (GFP) revolutionized cell biology by allowing researchers to tag proteins with the glowing substance. Scientists recently developed an analogous RNA tool, called Spinach, which consists of a short segment of RNA bound to a molecule that mimics the GFP chromophore (the part responsible for its fluorescence). Warner et al. now report the crystal structure of Spinach. They find that an unusual RNA conformation held the chromophore in place. The conformation includes a G-quadruplex, a structure composed of four RNA strands. Solving the structure allowed the authors to design a miniature Spinach and may open the door to other fluorescent RNAs.

Structure of the full-length Spinach RNA

CREDIT: KATHERINE WARNER AND ADRIAN FERRÉ-D'AMARÉ

Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 10.1038/nsmb.2865 (2014).

Navigate This Article