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Insight into the binding modes of Lassa nucleoprotein complexed with ssRNA by molecular dynamic simulations and free energy calculations



Insight into the binding modes of Lassa nucleoprotein complexed with ssRNA by molecular dynamic simulations and free energy calculations



Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics 33(5): 946-960



Lassa virus (LASV), an arenavirus known to be responsible for a severe hemorrhagic fever, causes thousands of deaths annually and there is no effective vaccine for it so far. The nucleoprotein (NP) of LASV plays an essential role in the replication and transcription of the viral genome. Recent research shows that viral RNA binds in a deep crevice located within the N-terminal domain of NP and suggests a gating mechanism in which NP transforms from a "closed" position to an "open" position to bind RNA. To characterize the molecular mechanisms of how RNA binds to N-terminal domain of NP, two molecular dynamic (MD) simulations of RNA-binding structure and RNA-free structure have been performed. The simulation results show that an important helix α6 interacts with RNA in the "open" conformation, while helix α6 rotates toward the binding crevice and reduces the space of RNA-binding pocket in the "closed" conformation; it appears that helix α6 would clash with RNA while NP is in a "closed" state. In addition, to characterize the role of residues involved in the binding of RNA, the MD simulations of the double-mutant (W164A/F176A) and the single-mutant (G243P) RNA-binding NP complexes have been performed. Our MD simulations and molecular mechanics-generalized born surface area (MM-GBSA) energy calculations exhibit that the three mutant residues increase the binding affinity. Furthermore, we infer that the defect of the replication and transcription of viral genome is possibly due to the change of structural integrity rather than the reduction of RNA-binding affinity.

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Accession: 053882422

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24824824

DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2014.923785


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