Coarse-graining RNA nanostructures for molecular dynamics simulations

Paliy, M., Melnik, R.V.N., Shapiro, B.

Physical Biology, 7 (3), 036001, 2010


A series of coarse-grained models have been developed for study of the molecular dynamics of RNA nanostructures. The models in the series have one to three beads per nucleotide and include different amounts of detailed structural information. Such a treatment allows us to reach, for systems of thousands of nucleotides, a time scale of microseconds (i.e. by three orders of magnitude longer than in full atomistic modeling) and thus to enable simulations of large RNA polymers in the context of bionanotechnology. We find that the three-beads-per-nucleotide models, described by a set of just a few universal parameters, are able to describe different RNA conformations and are comparable in structural precision to the models where detailed values of the backbone P-C4' dihedrals taken from a reference structure are included. These findings are discussed in the context of RNA conformation classes.