Research ArticleBIOPHYSICS

Solution NMR readily reveals distinct structural folds and interactions in doubly 13C- and 19F-labeled RNAs

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  07 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 41, eabc6572
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc6572


RNAs form critical components of biological processes implicated in human diseases, making them attractive for small-molecule therapeutics. Expanding the sites accessible to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy will provide atomic-level insights into RNA interactions. Here, we present an efficient strategy to introduce 19F-13C spin pairs into RNA by using a 5-fluorouridine-5′-triphosphate and T7 RNA polymerase–based in vitro transcription. Incorporating the 19F-13C label in two model RNAs produces linewidths that are twice as sharp as the commonly used 1H-13C spin pair. Furthermore, the high sensitivity of the 19F nucleus allows for clear delineation of helical and nonhelical regions as well as GU wobble and Watson-Crick base pairs. Last, the 19F-13C label enables rapid identification of a small-molecule binding pocket within human hepatitis B virus encapsidation signal epsilon (hHBV ε) RNA. We anticipate that the methods described herein will expand the size limitations of RNA NMR and aid with RNA-drug discovery efforts.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances