RNA is one of the most fascinating biomolecules in living systems given its structural versatility to fold into elaborate architectures for important biological functions such as gene regulation, catalysis, and information storage. Knowledge of RNA structures and interactions can provide deep insights into their functional roles in vivo. For decades, RNA structural studies have been conducted on a transcript-by-transcript basis. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has enabled the development of transcriptome-wide structural probing methods to profile the global landscape of RNA structures and interactions, also known as the RNA structurome and interactome, which transformed our understanding of the RNA structure–function relationship on a transcriptomic scale. In this review, molecular tools and NGS methods used for RNA structure probing are presented, novel insights uncovered by RNA structurome and interactome studies are highlighted, and perspectives on current challenges and potential future directions are discussed. A more complete understanding of the RNA structures and interactions in vivo will help illuminate the novel roles of RNA in gene regulation, development, and diseases.
- © 2016 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society