publication . Other literature type . Article . 2001

Reversible Unfolding of Single RNA Molecules by Mechanical Force

Jan Liphardt; Carlos Bustamante; Bibiana Onoa; Ignacio Tinoco; Steven B. Smith;
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  • Published: 27 Apr 2001
  • Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Abstract
Here we use mechanical force to induce the unfolding and refolding of single RNA molecules: a simple RNA hairpin, a molecule containing a three-helix junction, and the P5abc domain of the Tetrahymena thermophila ribozyme. All three molecules (P5abc only in the absence of Mg2+) can be mechanically unfolded at equilibrium, and when kept at constant force within a critical force range, are bi-stable and hop between folded and unfolded states. We determine the force-dependent equilibrium constants for folding/unfolding these single RNA molecules and the positions of their transition states along the reaction coordinate.
Subjects
free text keywords: Multidisciplinary, RNA, Tetrahymena thermophila, Equilibrium constant, Transition state, Ribozyme, biology.protein, biology, Molecule, Crystallography, Reaction coordinate, Chemistry, Mechanical force
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