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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2017 Sep;128:121-132. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.09.010. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

Multiscale molecular dynamics simulation approaches to the structure and dynamics of viruses.

Author information

1
Bioinformatics Institute (BII), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Matrix #07-01, 30 Biopolis Street, 138671, Singapore.
2
Bioinformatics Institute (BII), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Matrix #07-01, 30 Biopolis Street, 138671, Singapore; Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, 117543, Singapore.
3
Bioinformatics Institute (BII), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Matrix #07-01, 30 Biopolis Street, 138671, Singapore; Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, 117543, Singapore. Electronic address: peterjb@bii.a-star.edu.sg.

Abstract

Viral pathogens are a significant source of human morbidity and mortality, and have a major impact on societies and economies around the world. One of the challenges inherent in targeting these pathogens with drugs is the tight integration of the viral life cycle with the host's cellular machinery. However, the reliance of the virus on the host cell replication machinery is also an opportunity for therapeutic targeting, as successful entry- and exit-inhibitors have demonstrated. An understanding of the extracellular and intracellular structure and dynamics of the virion - as well as of the entry and exit pathways in host and vector cells - is therefore crucial to the advancement of novel antivirals. In recent years, advances in computing architecture and algorithms have begun to allow us to use simulations to study the structure and dynamics of viral ultrastructures at various stages of their life cycle in atomistic or near-atomistic detail. In this review, we outline specific challenges and solutions that have emerged to allow for structurally detailed modelling of viruses in silico. We focus on the history and state of the art of atomistic and coarse-grained approaches to simulate the dynamics of the large, macromolecular structures associated with viral infection, and on their usefulness in explaining and expanding upon experimental data. We discuss the types of interactions that need to be modeled to describe major components of the virus particle and advances in modelling techniques that allow for the treatment of these systems, highlighting recent key simulation studies.

KEYWORDS:

Coarse graining; Lipid membranes; Molecular dynamics simulations; Multi-scale modelling; Self-assembly; Viral pathogens

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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