Base-Stacking Heterogeneity in RNA Resolved by Fluorescence-Detected Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy
Julia R. Widom* and Janson E. Hoeher
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2022, 13, 34, 8010–8018
RNA plays a critical role in many biological processes, and the structures it adopts are intimately linked to those functions. Among many factors that contribute to RNA folding, van der Waals interactions between adjacent nucleobases stabilize structures in which the bases are stacked on top of one another. Here, we utilize fluorescence-detected circular dichroism spectroscopy (FDCD) to investigate base-stacking heterogeneity in RNA labeled with the fluorescent adenine analogue 2-aminopurine (2-AP). Comparison of standard (transmission-detected) CD and FDCD spectra reveals that in dinucleotides, 2-AP fluorescence is emitted almost exclusively by unstacked molecules. In a trinucleotide, some fluorescence is emitted by a population of stacked and highly quenched molecules, but more than half originates from a minor ∼10% population of unstacked molecules. The combination of FDCD and standard CD measurements reveals the prevalence of stacked and unstacked conformational subpopulations as well as their relative fluorescence quantum yields.
Absorption, Circular dichroism spectroscopy, Conformation, Fluorescence, Genetics, Fluorescence-Detected Circular Dischroism