dsRNA-protein interactions studied by molecular dynamics techniques. Unravelling dsRNA recognition by DCL1
Salvador I. Drusin, Irina P. Suarez, Diego F. Gauto, Rodolfo M. Rasia, Diego M. Moreno
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Double stranded RNA (dsRNA) participates in several biological processes, where RNA molecules acquire secondary structure inside the cell through base complementarity. The double stranded RNA binding domain (dsRBD) is one of the main protein folds that is able to recognize and bind to dsRNA regions. The N-terminal dsRBD of DCL1 inArabidopsis thaliana (DCL1-1), in contrast to other studied dsRBDs, lacks a stable structure, behaving as an intrinsically disordered protein. DCL1-1 does however recognize dsRNA by acquiring a canonical fold in the presence of its substrate. Here we present a detailed modeling and molecular dynamics study of dsRNA recognition by DCL1-1. We found that DCL1-1 forms stable complexes with different RNAs and we characterized the residues involved in binding. Although the domain shows a binding loop substantially shorter than other homologs, it can still interact with the dsRNA and results in bending of the dsRNA A-type helix. Furthermore, we found that R8, a non-conserved residue located in the first dsRNA binding region, recognizes preferentially mismatched base pairs. We discuss our findings in the context of the function of DCL1-1 within the microRNA processing complex.
Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, Ligand binding, Protein folding, Biochemistry