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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2017, Article ID 6067345, 8 pages
Research Article

The 2D Structure of the T. brucei Preedited RPS12 mRNA Is Not Affected by Macromolecular Crowding

Department of Molecular Genetics, Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to H. Ulrich Göringer; ed.tdatsmrad-ut.oib@regnirog

Received 3 February 2017; Accepted 4 April 2017; Published 18 June 2017

Academic Editor: Luis A. Marky

Copyright © 2017 W.-Matthias Leeder et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mitochondrial transcript maturation in African trypanosomes requires RNA editing to convert sequence-deficient pre-mRNAs into translatable mRNAs. The different pre-mRNAs have been shown to adopt highly stable 2D folds; however, it is not known whether these structures resemble the in vivo folds given the extreme “crowding” conditions within the mitochondrion. Here, we analyze the effects of macromolecular crowding on the structure of the mitochondrial RPS12 pre-mRNA. We use high molecular mass polyethylene glycol as a macromolecular cosolute and monitor the structure of the RNA globally and with nucleotide resolution. We demonstrate that crowding has no impact on the 2D fold and we conclude that the MFE structure in dilute solvent conditions represents a good proxy for the folding of the pre-mRNA in its mitochondrial solvent context.