Regensburg 2010 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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BP: Fachverband Biologische Physik

BP 23: Biopolymers

BP 23.1: Hauptvortrag

Donnerstag, 25. März 2010, 10:00–10:30, H43

Single-molecule Fluorescence Studies of RNA Folding and Function — •Gerd Ulrich Nienhaus — Institute of Applied Physics and Center for Functional Nanostructures, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany

RNA is a versatile biopolymer involved in various key biological functions, including storage and transfer of information, structural scaffolding and gene expression and regulation. RNA folds into compact three-dimensional structures, and RNA self-assembly and dynamics within the functionally competent, folded structure can be visualized by transitions in a highly complex energy landscape. We study these dynamic processes in small RNAs by using single-molecule Förster (fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET). The free energies of the folded, intermediate and unfolded states can be changed by varying the Mg2+ counterion concentration, which allows one to selectively enhance the population of various states in thermal equilibrium and to analyze the equilibrium energetics as well as the kinetics and structural properties of these states.

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