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8.3: RNA Stability

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Molecular Biology

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RNA Stability

8.3: RNA Stability

Intact DNA strands can be found in fossils, while scientists sometimes struggle to keep RNA intact under laboratory conditions. The structural variations between RNA and DNA underlie the differences in their stability and longevity. Because DNA is double-stranded, it is inherently more stable. The single-stranded structure of RNA is less stable but also more flexible and can form weak internal bonds. Additionally, most RNAs in the cell are relatively short, while DNA can be up to 250 million nucleotides long. RNA has a hydroxyl group on the second carbon of the ribose sugar, increasing the likelihood of breakage of the sugar-phosphate backbone.

The cell can exploit the instability of RNA, regulating both its longevity and availability. More stable mRNAs will be available for translation for a longer period of time than less stable mRNAs transcripts. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in cells play a key role in the regulation of RNA stability. RBPs can bind to a specific sequence (AUUUA) in the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of mRNAs. Interestingly, the number of AUUUA repeats appears to recruit RBPs in a specific way: fewer repeats recruit stabilizing RBPs. Several, overlapping repeats result in the binding of destabilizing RBPs. All cells have enzymes called RNases that break down RNAs. Typically, the 5’cap and polyA tail protect eukaryotic mRNA from degradation until the cell no longer needs the transcript.

The emerging research on epitranscriptomics aims to define regulatory mRNA modifications. Recently, scientists have discovered an important role for methylation in mRNA stability. The methylation of adenosine residues (m6A) appears to increase mRNA translation and degradation. m6A also has roles in stress responses, nuclear export, and mRNA maturation. The presence of a modified uracil residue, pseudouridine, also appears to play an important role in RNA regulation.

Lectura sugerida


RNA Stability Is A Crucial Aspect In Molecular Biology And Genetics. It Refers To The Ability Of An RNA Molecule To Resist Degradation Or Breakdown In A Cellular Environment. Understanding RNA Stability Is Essential For Studying Gene Expression Regulatory Mechanisms And Various Cellular Processes. Several Factors Contribute To RNA Stability Including The Sequence And Structure Of The RNA Molecule Itself As Well As Interactions With Proteins And Other Molecules. The Stability Of RNA Can Vary Greatly Between Different Transcripts With Some Being Highly Stable And Others More Susceptible To Degradation. RNA Stability Is Regulated Through A Complex Network Of Mechanisms. One Such Mechanism Involves The Addition Of A Protective Cap Structure At The 5' End Of The RNA Molecule Known As The 5' Cap. This Cap Helps To Prevent Degradation By Exonucleases Enzymes That Degrade RNA From The Ends. Another Important Mechanism Involves The Addition Of A Poly(A) Tail At The 3' End Of The RNA M

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