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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Oct 29;42(19):12126-37. doi: 10.1093/nar/gku799. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Efficient in silico exploration of RNA interhelical conformations using Euler angles and WExplore.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, 930 N University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
2
Department of Biophysics, University of Michigan, 930 N University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
3
Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, 930 N University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA Department of Biophysics, University of Michigan, 930 N University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA brookscl@umich.edu.

Abstract

HIV-1 TAR RNA is a two-helix bulge motif that plays a critical role in HIV viral replication and is an important drug target. However, efforts at designing TAR inhibitors have been challenged by its high degree of structural flexibility, which includes slow large-amplitude reorientations of its helices with respect to one another. Here, we use the recently introduced algorithm WExplore in combination with Euler angles to achieve unprecedented sampling of the TAR conformational ensemble. Our ensemble achieves similar agreement with experimental NMR data when compared with previous TAR computational studies, and is generated at a fraction of the computational cost. It clearly emerges from configuration space network analysis that the intermittent formation of the A22-U40 base pair acts as a reversible switch that enables sampling of interhelical conformations that would otherwise be topologically disallowed. We find that most previously determined ligand-bound structures are found in similar location in the network, and we use a sample-and-select approach to guide the construction of a set of novel conformations which can serve as the basis for future drug development efforts. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the utility of WExplore in combination with suitable order parameters as a method for exploring RNA conformational space.

PMID:
25294827
PMCID:
PMC4231733
DOI:
10.1093/nar/gku799
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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