Mathematics - Florida State University
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Christine Heitsch



Speaker: Christine Heitsch
Title: Deciphering the Information Encoded in RNA Viral Genomes
Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: Friday, January 19, 2007.
Place and Time: Room 101 - Love Building, 3:35-4:30 pm.
Refreshments: Room 204 - Love Building, 3:00 pm.

Abstract. The formation of base pairs within single-stranded RNA molecules, such as the Hepatitis C viral genome, creates structure and affects function, thereby conveying biological information. We investigate how RNA viral genomes encode structure and function by analyzing a combinatorial model of RNA folding. Single-stranded RNA sequences are understood to self-bond with a complex interplay between energetically beneficial stacked base pairs, or "helices," and destabilizing single-stranded structures called "loops." One result of our combinatorial analysis demonstrates the importance of local helical constraints in specifying a global structure while another characterizes the minimal loop energy configurations in our model of RNA folding. As we will discuss, this work not only provides new insights into the coding of secondary structure in RNA sequences but also suggests new directions for analyzing functional motifs in RNA viral genomes.


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Last modified: Thursday January 11th, 2007