Author(s): Liphardt J, Onoa B, Smith SB, Tinoco I Jr, Bustamante C
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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.
This article was published in Science
and referenced in Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics