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New methods to determine the conformation of oligonucleotides in solution


Research objectives and content
In this project a new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method will be developed in order to obtain structural constraints for two types of dihedral angles, currently undeterminable, that define the conformation around the phosphate group in RNA. Recently, a new generation of constraints have been proposed by the host laboratory (Reif, B. et al. Science, 276 1230-1233, 1997) that allow, in a very elegant way, to achieve additional structural information in proteins from cross-correlated relaxation rates. Inspired by this idea, cross-correlated relaxation of 13C, 31p heteronuclear zero quantum (ZQ) and double quantum (DQ) coherence will be exploited to determine the conformation of the phophodiester group in oligonucleotides.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
By developing the proposed methodology, based on the measurement of cross-correlation rates, the candidate will deepen her knowledge this field of solution NMR. In addition, she will learn solid state NMR, since both techniques are essential to achieve the goals of this project and she will study for the first time RNA molecules. Phosphate groups tend to break down the network of distance and angle constraints available from NMR. The method we propose is designed to fill this gap by providing
non-conventional constraints for two angles, currently undeterminable, defining the phosphodiester conformation.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
None for the project, according to point (22)

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


11,Marie-curie-strasse 11
60439 Frankfurt Am-main