Just like origami, RNA can fold into different shapes that drives its functions in the cell.
Accurate folding of RNA is critical for proper functioning and misfolding can lead to disease. As the cell is made up of millions of RNA molecules, we develop ways to rapidly study RNA shapes, how they can be altered in different environments and be used to interact with other cellular parts for proper functioning. Knowing the configuration of RNA shapes in pathogens allows us to design components that can block or distort them, slowing down their pathogenic growth, and facilitating treatments in infectious diseases.
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* these authors contributed equally.