RNA folding studies inside peptide-rich droplets reveal roles of modified nucleosides at the origin of life

McCauley O. Meyer, Ryota Yamagami, Saehyun Choi, Christine D. Keating, Philip C. Bevilacqua

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Compartmentalization of RNA in biopolymer-rich membraneless organelles is now understood to be pervasive and critical for the function of extant biology and has been proposed as a prebiotically plausible way to accumulate RNA. However, compartment-RNA interactions that drive encapsulation have the potential to influence RNA structure and function in compartment- and RNA sequence–dependent ways. Here, we detail next-generation sequencing (NGS) experiments performed in membraneless compartments called complex coacervates to characterize the fold of many different transfer RNAs (tRNAs) simultaneously under the potentially denaturing conditions of these compartments. Notably, we find that natural modifications favor the native fold of tRNAs in these compartments. This suggests that covalent RNA modifications could have played a critical role in metabolic processes at the origin of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereadh5152
JournalScience Advances
Issue number38
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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