Secondary Structure of ribosomal RNA (rRNA)

    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.

Figure © 2012 TA Brown, Introduction to Genetics (1st ed.); additional text © 2012 by Steven M. Carr