Sub-3-Å cryo-EM structure of RNA enabled by engineered homomeric self-assembly


Di Liu, François A. Thélot, Joseph A. Piccirilli, Maofu Liao, and Peng Yin. 2022. “Sub-3-Å cryo-EM structure of RNA enabled by engineered homomeric self-assembly.” Nature Methods. Publisher's Version


High-resolution structural studies are essential for understanding the folding and function of diverse RNAs. Herein, we present a nanoarchitectural engineering strategy for efficient structural determination of RNA-only structures using single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). This strategy–-ROCK (RNA oligomerization-enabled cryo-EM via installing kissing loops)–-involves installing kissing-loop sequences onto the functionally nonessential stems of RNAs for homomeric self-assembly into closed rings with multiplied molecular weights and mitigated structural flexibility. ROCK enables cryo-EM reconstruction of the Tetrahymena group I intron at 2.98-\AA resolution overall (2.85þinspace}\AA for the core), allowing de novo model building of the complete RNA, including the previously unknown peripheral domains. ROCK is further applied to two smaller RNAs–-the Azoarcus group I intron and the FMN riboswitch, revealing the conformational change of the former and the bound ligand in the latter. ROCK holds promise to greatly facilitate the use of cryo-EM in RNA structural studies.
Last updated on 05/02/2022