Recent improvements in instrumentation and methods now allow the production of capped RNA in large quantities needed to study proteins and protein complexes that bind capped RNAs. Fuchs et al., in 2016, reported a method that allows the production of both cap-0 and cap-1 RNA in high amounts. Synthetic capped RNA enables structural and functional studies of proteins and enzymes in complex with capped RNA.
Eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA) contains cap structures. The 5’-guanine-N7-methyl cap is a significant feature of these mRNAs. The capping of mRNA is essential for most subsequent steps in the mRNA life cycle. Cap structures are involved in pre-mRNA splicing, pre-mRNA recognition, mRNA export, translation initiation, and stabilization of mRNAs via protection against degradation by 5’-3’-exonucleases and removal of the cap structure to prevent the decay of the transcript.
Also, many viruses can capture cellular cap structures to evade the host’s immune system.
Fuchs AL, Neu A, Sprangers R. A general method for rapid and cost-efficient large-scale production of 5' capped RNA. RNA. 2016 Sep;22(9):1454-66. doi: 10.1261/rna.056614.116. Epub 2016 Jul 1. [PMC]