Oxidative Damage to RNA

RNA damage resulting from oxidative stress has been linked to the cause/result of different diseases, i.e., Alzheimer’s disease, muscle atrophy.  It is likely that oxidative lesions interfere with the functions between RNA and other cellular molecules.  Examples of oxidatively damaged nucleobases that have been found in natural systems are depicted below.

We are interested in finding if a direct correlation between oxidative damage to RNA and how it may lead to the disease exists i.e., exploring mechanisms that result in defects in protein synthesis.  Using a combination of bio-organic techniques we are in the process of developing suitable models that may shed more light on this topic.

RNA-Small Molecule Interactions

Molecular recognition using nucleic acids may be used as a way to identify potential targets that inhibit/enhance known signaling pathways in a variety of natural systems.  Examples in nature include aptamers composed of both DNA or RNA and that are specific for theophylline (a known bronchodilator), cocaine and pre-Q1.  Upon binding of the corresponding target molecule, the biopolymers fold into a distinct structure i.e., (A) hairpin, (B) double stranded, (C) pseudoknot that then goes on to perform a specific function.


Figure 2.  Examples of aptamers are depicted:  The RNA-based aptamer (A) recognizes theophylline (JACS, 2005 Mecozzi et al.) to form a hairpin, whereas the pre-Q1 class I riboswitch (C) recognizes its target and gives rise to pseudoknot formation (JACS, 2012, Resendiz et al.).  The DNA-based split aptamer (B) recognizes cocaine and brings the two strands together (JACS, 2011, Heemstra et al.)

We are interested in the design and synthesis of RNA-based structures that can be used as sensors for small molecules in order to explore their potential for applications in biologically relevant systems i.e., finding good candidates for therapeutic purposes.

News & Updates

Latest Publication:

Rate of N-alkylation and mechanism described. Click below for Stephanie's summary: Check the article here!

Congrats to T and Steph!

Departmental Award

Joseph obtains award to carry out research this summer. Congrats!

RaCAS 2015:

Joseph and Justin presented on their research progress.

ACS Spring 2015:

Yu and Ana presented on their research progress.

ADSE Symposium:

Stephanie and Tewoderos presented their research progress.

Marti Barrett Scholarship:

2014/2015 Barrett Scholarship recipient goes to Kristina Bueter.

Kudos to Katie!


Oxo-A & RNA - Structural Changes and Stability: Check the OpenAccess article here!

Synthesis, circular dichroism & thermodynamic parameters on hairpins, hetero- and homo-duplexes of RNA.

Congrats to Ana and Yu!

SACNAS 2014:

On their LA trip, Tewoderos Ayele and Ana M. Chauca-Diaz presented posters on their progress.

Tewoderos won best poster award, Congrats!

ABRCMS 2014:

Beatrice A. Guillermo presented her research progress in San Antonio.

Interesting Recent Articles from NAR:

Rates of cleavage of oxidatively damaged DNA and RNA (Fleming et al.): Check this article here!

The separation between the 5'-3' ends in long RNA molecules is short and nearly constant (Leija-Martinez et al.): Check this article here!

Check back for more interesting articles, news, and updates from the Resendiz research group.