A complete conformational map for RNA

Venkatesh L. Murthy, Rajgopal Srinivasan, David E. Draper, George D. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


A simple stereochemical framework for understanding RNA structure has remained elusive to date. We present a comprehensive conformational map for two nucleoside-5',3'-diphosphates and for a truncated dinucleotide derived from a grid search of all potential conformers using hard sphere steric exclusion criteria to define allowed conformers. The eight-dimensional conformational space is presented as a series of two-dimensional projections. These projections reveal several well-defined allowed and disallowed regions which correlate well with data obtained from X-ray crystallography of both large and small RNA molecules. Furthermore, the two-dimensional projections show that consecutive and ribose ring-proximal torsion angles are interdependent, while more distant torsion angles are not. Remarkably, using steric criteria alone, it is possible to generate a predictive conformational map for RNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-327
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 13 1999


  • RNA conformation
  • RNA flexibility
  • RNA folding
  • RNA stereochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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