Sequential folding of a messenger RNA molecule

Ruth Nussinov*, Ignacio Tinoco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The existence of a new, efficient algorithm for secondary structure prediction enables us to study the folding pattern of a messenger RNA chain. Our results indicate that successively longer RNA sequences with the same 5′-ends fold sequentially, usually keeping the stable close-range hairpin loops and rearranging the long-range stems. This path will shorten the time the messenger RNA molecule needs in order to attain its preferred structure. It can also align splicing sites in a favorable orientation before the whole molecule is synthesized. Our studies were carried out on the simian virus 40 late precursor and processed mRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-533
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 25 Sep 1981
Externally publishedYes


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