RNA (ribonucleic acid) is a nucleic acid polymer where the carbohydrate is ribose. RNA is generally single-stranded, as DNA is transcribed by RNA polymerases into mRNA (messenger RNA), which is read by ribosomes to generate protein (translation). Biologically active RNAs, including transport, ribosomal and small nuclear RNA (tRNA, rRNA, snRNAs) fold into unique structures guided by complementary pairing between nucleotide bases.

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  • Research Highlights |

    Two papers in Nature Chemical Biology describe new methods for transcriptome-mapping of N6-methyladenosine (m6A), a covalent modification of RNA. In m6A-SEAL, modified adenosines can be tagged with different functional groups for different applications, whereas m6A-label-seq uses metabolic labelling to achieve single-nucleotide resolution.

    • Dorothy Clyde
  • News and Views |

    The ribosome decodes messenger RNAs and constructs proteins based on the genetic blueprint. Ribosomes also associate with non-coding RNAs, such as PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) precursors, during the meiotic pachytene stage. Intriguingly, the ribosome mediates pachytene piRNA biogenesis by guiding endonucleolytic cleavage of piRNA precursors.

    • Yuanhui Mao
    •  & Shu-Bing Qian
    Nature Cell Biology 22, 141-142
  • News and Views |

    The traditional function of pseudouridine synthases is to convert uridine residues in RNA to pseudouridines. A study reveals a new function for the human PUS10 protein, which enhances micro-RNA maturation in addition to tRNA modification.

    • Wen Zhang
    •  & Tao Pan