Large noncoding RNAs fold into their biologically functional structures via compact yet disordered intermediates, which couple the stable secondary structure of the RNA with the emerging tertiary fold. The specificity of the collapse transition, which coincides with the assembly of helical domains, depends on RNA sequence and counterions. It determines the specificity of the folding pathways and the magnitude of the free energy barriers to the ensuing search for the native conformation. By coupling helix assembly with nascent tertiary interactions, compact folding intermediates in RNA also play a crucial role in ligand binding and RNA-protein recognition.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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