Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.494, No.1-2, 95-100, 2017
Molecular insights into the specific recognition between the RNA binding domain qRRM2 of hnRNP F and G-tract RNA: A molecular dynamics study
Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein F (hnRNP F) controls the expression of various genes through regulating the alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs in the nucleus. It uses three quasi-RNA recognition motifs (qRRMs) to recognize G-tract RNA which contains at least three consecutive guanines. The structures containing qRRMs of hnRNP F in complex with G-tract RNA have been determined by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, shedding light on the recognition mechanism of qRRMs with G-tract RNA. However, knowledge of the recognition details is still lacking. To investigate how qRRMs specifically bind with G-tract RNA and how the mutations of any guanine to an adenine in the G-tract affect the binding, molecular dynamics simulations with binding free energy analysis were performed based on the NMR structure of qRRM2 in complex with G-tract RNA. Simulation results demonstrate that qRRM2 binds strongly with G-tract RNA, but any mutation of the G-tract leads to a drastic reduction of the binding free energy. Further comparisons of the energetic components reveal that van der Waals and non-polar interactions play essential roles in the binding between qRRM2 and G-tract RNA, but the interactions are weakened by the effect of RNA mutations. Structural and dynamical analyses indicate that when qRRM2 binds with G-tract RNA, both qRRM2 and G-tract maintain stabilized structures and dynamics; however, the stability is disrupted by the mutations of the G-tract. These results provide novel insights into the recognition mechanism of qRRM2 with G-tract RNA that are not elucidated by the NMR technique. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.