Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry                       Institute of Molecular Biophysics

 Li Laboratory at FSU

Structural Biology of RNA and Proteins

                 Our laboratory is concerned with the structure mechanisms at atomic levels of large molecular assemblies that form during gene expression and regulation processes. Primarily based on X-ray crystallographic methods, we use a multi-disciplinary approach to probe the functional roles of large assemblies. Three-dimensional structures of biological molecules provide us with wealthy atomic details along specific functional pathways that are further analyzed by biochemical, genetic, and theoretical methods. Our goal is to be able to understand, and ultimately to predict, the physical and chemical principles governing molecular recognition of assembly and the catalyzed chemical reactions.

   A diverse range of RNA:protein, RNA:RNA and protein:protein interactions occur at the level of transcription and translation as well as post-transcriptional modifications. RNA:protein interactions are particularly interesting not only because they play important functional roles in assembly and biological processes, but also because the rules of their interactions are still poorly understood owing to the scarce structural data. Unlike DNA molecules, RNA can fold either into compact structures for interacting with proteins and small molecules or into extended structures for mediating long-distance interactions. We hope, by providing exceptionally detailed images of the molecular events along the assembly and functional pathways, to unveil the underlying basis for assembly and function involving RNA and partner proteins.

To contact us:


Institute of Molecular Biophysics

Florida State University

91 Chieftain way

Tallahassee, FL 32306-4380


Phone: (850) 644-6785

Fax: (850) 644-7244