Hairpins under tension: RNA versus DNA

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We use optical tweezers to control the folding and unfolding of individual DNA and RNA hairpins by force. Four hairpin molecules are studied in comparison: two DNA and two RNA ones. We observe that the conformational dynamics is slower for the RNA hairpins than for their DNA counterparts. Our results indicate that structures made of RNA are dynamically more stable. This difference might contribute to the fact that DNA and RNA play fundamentally different biological roles in spite of chemical similarity.




Bercy, M., & Bockelmann, U. (2015). Hairpins under tension: RNA versus DNA. Nucleic Acids Research, 43(20), 9928–9936.

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