Insight into the intrinsic flexibility of the SL1 stem-loop from genomic RNA of HIV-1 as probed by molecular dynamics simulation

Abstract : The SL1 stem-loop is the dimerization initiation site for linking the two copies of the RNA forming the HIV-1 genome. The twenty-six nucleotides stem contains a defect consisting on a highly conserved G-rich 1-3 asymmetrical internal loop which is a major site for nucleocapsid protein binding. Several NMR attempts were undertaken to determine the internal loop structure in the SL1 monomer. However the RNA constructs used in the different studies were largely mutated, in particular with replacement of the nine nucleotides apical loop by a tetraloop, and divergent results were obtained ranging from a rigid structure to a particularly large flexibility. In order to investigate the reasons for such discrepancies, we used molecular dynamics simulation of the SL1 monomer to probe the effect of mutations on the conformational stability of the internal loop and of the whole stem. It is found that in the wild type sequence the internal loop displays conformational variability originating mainly from the nine nucleotides apical loop flexibility that causes large conformationnal fluctuations (without changing the average structure) in the seven base pairs duplex linking the apical and internal loops. The large amplitude atomic motions in the duplex are transmitted to the internal loop in which they induce conformational changes characterized by a labile hydrogen bond network such as G5 successively H-bonded to A29 and G30. On the contrary, with a four nucleotides apical loop, conformational fluctuations in the duplex are reduced by a factor of 2 and are not sufficiently energizing for promoting changes in the internal loop structure at the time scale of the simulations.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 9:45:22 AM
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Daniel Genest, Sonia Mazier. Insight into the intrinsic flexibility of the SL1 stem-loop from genomic RNA of HIV-1 as probed by molecular dynamics simulation. Biopolymers / Biopolymers (Biospectroscopy); Biopolymers (Pept Sci ); Biopolymers (Peptide Sci ); Biopolymers (Pept Sci); Biopolymers, 2008, 89 (3), pp.187-196. ⟨10.1002/bip.20888⟩. ⟨hal-00189076⟩



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