Deconvolution of Conformational Exchange from Raman Spectra of Aqueous RNA Nucleosides

Alex Wilson, Carlos Outeiral Rubiera, Sarah Dowd, Andrew Doig, Paul Popelier, Jonathan Waltho, Andrew Almond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) are key to the central dogma of molecular biology. While Raman spectroscopy holds great potential for studying RNA conformational dynamics, current computational Raman prediction and assignment methods are limited in terms of system size and inclusion of conformational exchange. Here, a framework is presented that predicts Raman spectra using mixtures of sub-spectra corresponding to major conformers calculated using classical and ab initio molecular dynamics. Experimental optimization allowed purines and pyrimidines to be characterized as predominantly syn and anti, respectively, and ribose into exchange between equivalent south and north populations. These measurements are in excellent agreement with Raman spectroscopy of ribonucleosides, and previous experimental and computational results. This framework provides a measure of ribonucleoside solution populations and conformational exchange in RNA subunits. It complements other experimental techniques and could be extended to other molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates, enabling biological insights and providing a new analytical tool.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number56
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2020


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