RNA molecules come in different shapes and sizes and regulate all kinds of biological processes. RNAs also play important roles in diseases such as HIV, cancer and muscular dystrophy. So it’s no surprise that a lot of effort is being made to develop small molecules that can control the biochemical activity of RNA and have the potential to function as therapeutics. Many of the biophysical methods used to study interactions between RNA and binding partners have limitations including low sensitivity and high material consumption.
In this article, scientists from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland used MST to overcome those limitations to study an assortment of important biological interactions between RNAs and ligands. They were thrilled to discover that they could measure biologically relevant interactions between peptide and RNA, RNA and small molecule, as well as the disruption of RNA-peptide interactions by a small molecule.
One surprise they didn’t expect — their measured binding affinities were in good agreement with previously reported values by other methods.