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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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Visualizing siRNA targeting of single mRNAs in living cells reveals that passing ribosomes temporarily unfold the mRNA, exposing it to siRNA recognition. This effect is due to the slow reorganization of many weak, suboptimal interactions within the mRNA.

    • Ewelina M. Małecka
    •  & Sarah A. Woodson
  • 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