RNA Base Pairing Determines the Conformations of RNA Inside Spherical Viruses

Abstract : Many simple RNA viruses enclose their genetic material by a protein shell called the capsid. While the capsid structures are well characterized for most viruses, the structure of RNA inside the shells and the factors contributing to it remain poorly understood. We study the impact of base pairing on the conformations of RNA and find that it undergoes a swollen coil to globule continuous transition as a function of the strength of the pairing interaction. We also observe a first order transition and kink profile as a function of RNA length. All these transitions could explain the different RNA profiles observed inside viral shells.
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Gonca Erdemci-Tandogan, Henri Orland, Roya Zandi. RNA Base Pairing Determines the Conformations of RNA Inside Spherical Viruses. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2017, 119, pp.188102. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.188102⟩. ⟨cea-01708297⟩

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