It plays a central role in the functioning of all organisms and is a small miracle: the messenger molecule RNA. RNA transports the genetic blueprints from the cell nucleus to the ribosomes, where they are then translated into proteins. At least that's how you learn it in chemistry and biology lessons. However, RNA has much more to offer: it performs important catalytic and regulatory functions in cells from simple organisms such as bacteria to complex mammals. In the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) "Molecular Principles of RNA-based Regulation", researchers from Goethe University are working together with colleagues at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Max Planck Institutes of Biophysics and Brain Research in Frankfurt to find out why. They are examining the diverse regulatory and enzymatic functions of RNA.
The CRC's research groups are able to investigate the structure and function of RNAs using a variety of very advanced spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), infrared spectroscopy and high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. In addition, they are able to produce customized RNAs. Such tailor-made molecules are needed in basic research, synthetic biology and for therapeutic applications.