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Title: A G-quadruplex-containing RNA activates fluorescence in a GFP-like fluorophore

Spinach is an in vitro–selected RNA aptamer that binds a GFP-like ligand and activates its green fluorescence. Spinach is thus an RNA analog of GFP and has potentially widespread applications for in vivo labeling and imaging. We used antibody-assisted crystallography to determine the structures of Spinach both with and without bound fluorophore at 2.2-Å and 2.4-Å resolution, respectively. Spinach RNA has an elongated structure containing two helical domains separated by an internal bulge that folds into a G-quadruplex motif of unusual topology. The G-quadruplex motif and adjacent nucleotides comprise a partially preformed binding site for the fluorophore. The fluorophore binds in a planar conformation and makes extensive aromatic stacking and hydrogen bond interactions with the RNA. Our findings provide a foundation for structure-based engineering of new fluorophore-binding RNA aptamers.
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  1. UC
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nat. Chem. Biol.; Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 08, 2014
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States