Structure of ribosomal RNA
In contrast with DNA, the -OH on the 2'-carbon
of the ribose sugar in RNA prevents
formation of stable double-helices. The secondary
structure of rRNA in consequence is a complex
pattern of short double-stranded stems [paired bases] interspersed with unpaired single-stranded
loops and bubbles. Note that the rRNA structure above is
a single, continuous strand H-bonded back on itself, with a 5'
beginning and 3' end. The tertiary structure
of rRNA will fold this structure up amongst a
complex of proteins.