Small-angle X-ray scattering: A bridge between RNA secondary structures and three-dimensional topological structures

Xianyang Fang, Jason R. Stagno, Yuba R. Bhandari, Xiaobing Zuo, Yun Xing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Whereas the structures of small to medium-sized well folded RNA molecules often can be determined by either X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy, obtaining structural information for large RNAs using experimental, computational, or combined approaches remains a major interest and challenge. RNA is very sensitive to small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) due to high electron density along phosphate-sugar backbones, whose scattering contribution dominates SAXS intensity. For this reason, SAXS is particularly useful in obtaining global RNA structural information that outlines backbone topologies and, therefore, molecular envelopes. Such information is extremely valuable in bridging the gap between the secondary structures and three-dimensional topological structures of RNA molecules, particularly those that have proven difficult to study using other structure-determination methods. Here we review published results of RNA topological structures derived from SAXS data or in combination with other experimental data, as well as details on RNA sample preparation for SAXS experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-160
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Volume30
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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