Isotope Labeling and Segmental Labeling of Larger RNAs for NMR Structural Studies

  • Olivier Duss
  • Peter J. LukavskyEmail author
  • Frédéric H.-T. AllainEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 992)


NMR spectroscopy has become substantial in the elucidation of RNA structures and their complexes with other nucleic acids, proteins or small molecules. Almost half of the RNA structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank were determined by NMR spectroscopy, whereas NMR accounts for only 11% for proteins. Recent improvements in isotope labeling of RNA have strongly contributed to the high impact of NMR in RNA structure determination. In this book chapter, we review the advances in isotope labeling of RNA focusing on larger RNAs. We start by discussing several ways for the production and purification of large quantities of pure isotope labeled RNA. We continue by reviewing different strategies for selective deuteration of nucleotides. Finally, we present a comparison of several approaches for segmental isotope labeling of RNA. Selective deuteration of nucleotides in combination with segmental isotope labeling is paving the path for studying RNAs of ever increasing size.


High Performance Liquid Chromatography Hepatitis Delta Virus Hammerhead Ribozyme Large RNAs Cyclic Phosphate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Christophe Maris for setting up the HPLC and Christine von Schroetter for the production of isotopically labeled NTPs. This work was supported by the SNF-NCCR Iso-lab, the SNF grant Nr. 3100A0-118118 (to F.A.) and the grant from HFSP [RGP0024/2008] (to P.J.L.).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Molecular Biology and BiophysicsSwiss Federal Institute of Technology ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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