Light-Triggered RNA Annealing by an RNA Chaperone

Subrata Panja, Rakesh Paul, Marc M. Greenberg, Sarah A. Woodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-coding antisense RNAs regulate bacterial genes in response to nutrition or environmental stress, and can be engineered for artificial gene control. The RNA chaperone Hfq accelerates antisense pairing between non-coding RNAs and their mRNA targets, by a mechanism still unknown. We used a photocaged guanosine derivative in an RNA oligonucleotide to temporally control Hfq catalyzed annealing. Using a fluorescent molecular beacon as a reporter, we observed RNA duplex formation within 15 s following irradiation (3 s) of photocaged RNA complexed with Hfq. The results showed that the Hfq chaperone directly stabilizes the initiation of RNA base pairs, and suggests a strategy for light-activated control of gene expression by non-coding RNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7281-7284
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Hfq
  • RNA chaperones
  • non-coding RNA
  • p-hydroxyphenacyl
  • photocaged nucleotides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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