RNA is central to the flow of biological information. From transcription to splicing, RNA localization, translation, and decay, RNA is intimately involved in regulating every step of the gene expression program, and is thus essential for health and understanding disease. RNA has the unique ability to base-pair with itself and other nucleic acids to form complex structures. Hence the information content in RNA is not simply its linear sequence of bases, but is also encoded in complex folding of RNA molecules. A general chemical functionality that all RNAs have is a 2'-hydroxyl group in the ribose ring, and the reactivity of the 2'-hydroxyl in RNA is gated by local nucleotide flexibility. In other words, the 2'-hydroxyl is reactive at single-stranded and conformationally flexible positions but is unreactive at nucleotides constrained by base-pairing. Recent efforts have been focused on developing reagents that modify RNA as a function of RNA 2' hydroxyl group reactivity. Such RNA structure probing techniques can be read out by primer extension in experiments termed RNA SHAPE (selective 2'- hydroxyl acylation and primer extension). Herein, we describe the efforts devoted to the design and utilization of SHAPE probes for characterizing RNA structure. We also describe current technological advances that are being applied to utilize SHAPE chemistry with deep sequencing to probe many RNAs in parallel. The merging of chemistry with genomics is sure to open the door to genome-wide exploration of RNA structure and function.
View details for DOI 10.1002/wrna.1253
View details for Web of Science ID 000344453000009