Year of publication
- 2004 (1) (remove)
- Influence of a fluorobenzene nucleobase analogue on the conformational flexibility of RNA studied by molecular dynamics simulations (2004)
- Chemically modified bases are frequently used to stabilize nucleic acids, to study the driving forces for nucleic acid structure formation and to tune DNA and RNA hybridization conditions. In particular, fluorobenzene and fluorobenzimidazole base analogues can act as universal bases able to pair with any natural base and to stabilize RNA duplex formation. Although these base analogues are compatible with an A-form RNA geometry, little is known about the influence on the fine structure and conformational dynamics of RNA. In the present study, nano-second molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been performed to characterize the dynamics of RNA duplexes containing a central 1'-deoxy-1'-(2,4-difluorophenyl)-ß-D-ribofuranose base pair or opposite to an adenine base. For comparison, RNA with a central uridine:adenine pair and a 1'-deoxy-1'-(phenyl)-ß-D-ribofuranose opposite to an adenine was also investigated. The MD simulations indicate a stable overall A-form geometry for the RNAs with base analogues. However, the presence of the base analogues caused a locally enhanced mobility of the central bases inducing mainly base pair shear and opening motions. No stable ‘base-paired’ geometry was found for the base analogue pair or the base analogue:adenine pairs, which explains in part the universal base character of these analogues. Instead, the conformational fluctuations of the base analogues lead to an enhanced accessibility of the bases in the major and minor grooves of the helix compared with a regular base pair.