How ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules fold into secondary and tertiary structures and how protein binding is involved in specific RNA functions are fundamental questions central to understanding many biochemical processes. The research focuses on using multidimensional heteronuclear nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, together with other biophysical techniques, to study the structure and dynamics of RNA and RNA-protein complexes in solution. Using structures and dynamics derived from NMR data, we hope to gain an insight into the underlying RNA/protein biochemistry that will guide further chemical analysis and aid in the rational-based design of therapeutics. Current projects focus on studying the structure of RNA complexes formed by loop-loop “kissing” interactions. Such interactions have been found to be critical in a number of RNA folds and anti-sense based RNA regulation systems. In addition to studying the structural basis for these RNA interactions, we are also investigating the specific recognition of these RNA structures by RNA binding proteins. Our laboratory is also interested in the development of new NMR methods for determining the structure and dynamics of macromolecules.
Macromolecular dynamics; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Protein structure; Rational drug design; RNA structure; Structural biology;