- Spectroscopical investigations to determine RNA-ligand interactions and RNA dynamics (2009)
- This thesis describes the structural characterization of interactions between biological relevant ribonucleic acid biomacromolecules (RNAs) and selected ligands to optimize the methodologies for the design of pharmacological lead compounds. To achieve this aim, not only the structures of the RNA, the ligand and their complexes need to be known, but also information about the inherent dynamics, especially of the target RNA, are necessary. To determine the structure and dynamics of these molecules and their complexes, liquid state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is a suitable and powerful method. The necessity for these investigations arises from the lack of knowledge in RNA-ligand interactions, e.g. for the development of new medicinal drugs targeting crucial RNA sequences. In the first chapters of this thesis (Chapters II to IV), an introduction into RNA research is given with a focus on RNA structural features (Chapter II), into the interacting molecules, the biology of the specific RNA targets and the further development of their ligands (Chapter III) and into the NMR theory and methodologies used within this thesis (Chapter IV). Chapter II begins with a description of RNA characteristics and functions, placing the focus on the increasing attention that these biomacromolecules have attracted in recent years due to their diverse biological functionalities. This is followed by a detailed description of general structural features of RNA molecules. The biological functions of the RNAs investigated in this thesis (Human immunodeficiency virus PSI- and TAR-RNA and Coxsackievirus B3 Stemloop D in the 5’-cloverleaf element), together with their known structural characteristics are introduced in Chapter III. Furthermore, a description of the investigated ligands is given, focusing on the methods how their affinity and specificity were determined. The introduction is completed in Chapter IV, where the relevant NMR theory and methodologies are explained. First, kinetics and thermodynamics of ligand binding are summarized from an NMR point of view. Subsequently, a detailed description of the resonance assignment procedures for RNAs and peptidic ligands is given. This procedure mainly concentrates on the assignment of the proton resonances, which are essential for the later structure calculation from NMR restraints. The procedure for NMR structure calculation of RNA and its complexes follows with a short introduction into the programs ARIA and HADDOCK. The final part of this chapter explains the relaxation theory and the methodology to extract dynamic information from autocorrelated relaxation rates via the model-free formalism. In the Chapters V to VII of this thesis, the original publications are included and grouped into three topics. Chapter V comprehends the publications on the investigations of HIV PSI-RNA and its hexapeptidic ligand. These three publications[1-3] focus on the characterization of the ligand and its binding properties, its structure and the optimization of its composition aiming to improve its usage for further spectroscopic investigations.
- NMR and MD studies of the temperature-dependent dynamics of RNA YNMG-tetraloops (2008)
- In a combined NMR/MD study, the temperature-dependent changes in the conformation of two members of the RNA YNMG-tetraloop motif (cUUCGg and uCACGg) have been investigated at temperatures of 298, 317 and 325 K. The two members have considerable different thermal stability and biological functions. In order to address these differences, the combined NMR/MD study was performed. The large temperature range represents a challenge for both, NMR relaxation analysis (consistent choice of effective bond length and CSA parameter) and all-atom MD simulation with explicit solvent (necessity to rescale the temperature). A convincing agreement of experiment and theory is found. Employing a principle component analysis of the MD trajectories, the conformational distribution of both hairpins at various temperatures is investigated. The ground state conformation and dynamics of the two tetraloops are indeed found to be very similar. Furthermore, both systems are initially destabilized by a loss of the stacking interactions between the first and the third nucleobase in the loop region. While the global fold is still preserved, this initiation of unfolding is already observed at 317 K for the uCACGg hairpin but at a significantly higher temperature for the cUUCGg hairpin.