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J Comput Aided Mol Des. 2015 Jul;29(7):643-54. doi: 10.1007/s10822-015-9844-5. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Computational docking simulations of a DNA-aptamer for argininamide and related ligands.

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The Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904, Jerusalem, Israel.


The binding properties of sequence-specific nucleic acids (aptamers) to low-molecular-weight ligands, macromolecules and even cells attract substantial scientific interest. These ligand-DNA complexes found different applications for sensing, nanomedicine, and DNA nanotechnology. Structural information on the aptamer-ligand complexes is, however, scarce, even though it would open-up the possibilities to design novel features in the complexes. In the present study we apply molecular docking simulations to probe the features of an experimentally documented L-argininamide aptamer complex. The docking simulations were performed using AutoDock 4.0 and YASARA Structure software, a well-suited program for following intermolecular interactions and structures of biomolecules, including DNA. We explored the binding features of a DNA aptamer to L-argininamide and to a series of arginine derivatives or arginine-like ligands. We find that the best docking results are obtained after an energy-minimization of the parent ligand-aptamer complexes. The calculated binding energies of all mono-substituted guanidine-containing ligands show a good correlation with the experimentally determined binding constants. The results provide valuable guidelines for the application of docking simulations for the prediction of aptamer-ligand structures, and for the design of novel features of ligand-aptamer complexes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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