Many cellular processes are catalyzed and regulated by large, highly structured noncoding RNA molecules. Our laboratory is interested in the tertiary structures of large RNA molecules that control RNA splicing, transcription, and viral pathogenicity. We use a combination of biochemistry, cell biology and crystallography to monitor the architectural states of large RNAs and to understand the link between their molecular structure and function in biology. We recently solved the structure of a self-splicing group II intron (one of the largest ribozymes in nature), and we are now using similar techniques to determine the tertiary structure of lincRNAs, viral RNAs, and other RNAs that play a central role in gene expression.
Structure and RNA folding kinetics of group II introns.