New Biological Roles of RNA
It has become clear that RNA is not just a messenger. RNA can regulate and fine-tune biological processes, and only a minute fraction of this is known. It can be assumed that many of the small molecules relevant as cofactors, transmitters and signalling molecules have RNA receptors (aptamer, riboswitches) that have not been discovered so far. While theoretical approaches involving bioinformatics have been successful in several cases, these methods have certain limitations. Therefore, an unbiased experimental approach is required to identify unknown ligand-binding RNAs.
Our goal is to develop a chemical approach to find novel ligand-binding RNA motifs and to monitor transient and weak interactions inside a cell. Our strategy mainly relies on organic synthesis of different chemically modified metabolites, getting them into a cell and finally isolating interacting RNAs.