Persistence length changes dramatically as RNA folds

G. Caliskan, C. Hyeon, U. Perez-Salas, R. M. Briber, S. A. Woodson, D. Thirumalai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We determine the persistence length lp for a bacterial group I ribozyme as a function of concentration of monovalent and divalent cations by fitting the distance distribution functions P(r) obtained from small angle x-ray scattering intensity data to the asymptotic form of the calculated PWLC(r) for a wormlike chain. The lp values change dramatically over a narrow range of Mg2+ concentration from ∼21 in the unfolded state (U) to ∼10 in the compact (IC) and native states. Variations in lp with increasing Na+ concentration are more gradual. In accord with the predictions of polyelectrolyte theory we find lp1/κ2 where κ is the inverse Debye-screening length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number268303
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 31 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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