Interest in RNA has been increasing in recent years as we begin to understand the variety of roles played in several important biological processes. There are now several experimental techniques that can resolve RNA structure, but understanding how these single-stranded polymers fold, and being able to predict their secondary and tertiary structures has complemented the development of a number of theoretical approaches over the last decade.
The image below has been taken from a recent review by Cragnolini et al where they discuss ab initio RNA folding. The main focus of the review centres on an ab initio coarse-grained model and issues around building such a model specifically for RNA. The authors also discuss the future of this young field. They give their perspective on where they hope theoretical models will one day develop to – not only being able to predict the structures of RNA based on their sequences, but also take into account the environmental factors that affect folding in vivo, such as RNA degradation factors, illustrated below as Pac-Man.
Thumbnail and image in post adapted from Cragnolini et al 2015 J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 27 233102. Copyright IOP Publishing 2015.
Categories: Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter