Secondary structure and dynamics of the r(CGG) repeat in the mRNA of the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (FMR1) gene

Marta Zumwalt, Anna Ludwig, Paul J Hagerman, Thorsten Dieckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


The CGG triplet repeat found within the 5′UTR of the FMR1 gene is involved in the pathogenesis of both fragile X syndrome and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). The repeat has been shown to form both hairpins and tetraplexes in DNA; however, the secondary structure of CGG-repeat RNA has not been well defined. To this end, we have performed NMR spectroscopy on in vitro transcribed CGG-repeat RNAs and see clear evidence of intramolecular hairpins, with no evidence of tetraplex structures. Both C•G and G○G base pairs form in the hairpin stem, though in a dynamic equilibrium of conformations. In addition, we investigated the effect of an AGG repeat interruption on hairpin stability; such interruptions are often interspersed within the CGG repeat element and are thought to modulate secondary structure of the RNA. While the AGG repeat lowers the Tm of the hairpin at low Mg 2+ concentrations, this difference disappears at physiological Mg2+ levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007



  • FMR1
  • Premutation
  • RNA structure
  • Trinucleotide repeat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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