RNA in transmembrane structures?

Robert C. Colgrove robin at cco.caltech.edu
Tue Jan 4 10:19:50 EST 1994

sre at al.cam.ac.uk (Eddy S.) writes:

>In article <1994Jan4.035244.28464 at cs.yale.edu> johnk at loglady.ninds.nih.gov (John Kuszewski) writes:
>  >Are there any known cases of transmembrane structures 
>  >made from RNA?  It'd be an interesting molecular fossil
>  >from the RNA world.

I'd be the last to discount the ability of biological structures to do
amazing things but the very hydrophilic chemistry of RNA makes it hard
to imagine how such a thing would work. If memory serves, there is a
small RNA that manages to get itself transported into mitochondria
(and thus can cross membranes) but I can't think of any naked RNA's
stuck in a transmembrane position. Though it is just speculation,
one might imagine that pre-translation RNA's might evolve the ability
to bind amphipathic molecules, hydrophilic on the inside next to the RNA
and hydrophobic next to the membrane.


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