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Simulating movement of tRNA through the ribosome during hybrid-state formation.

ABSTRACT: Biomolecular simulations provide a means for exploring the relationship between flexibility, energetics, structure, and function. With the availability of atomic models from X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM), and rapid increases in computing capacity, it is now possible to apply molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to large biomolecular machines, and systematically partition the factors that contribute to function. A large biomolecular complex for which atomic models are available is the ribosome. In the cell, the ribosome reads messenger RNA (mRNA) in order to synthesize proteins. During this essential process, the ribosome undergoes a wide range of conformational rearrangements. One of the most poorly understood transitions is translocation: the process by which transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules move between binding sites inside of the ribosome. The first step of translocation is the adoption of a "hybrid" configuration by the tRNAs, which is accompanied by large-scale rotations in the ribosomal subunits. To illuminate the relationship between these rearrangements, we apply MD simulations using a multi-basin structure-based (SMOG) model, together with targeted molecular dynamics protocols. From 120 simulated transitions, we demonstrate the viability of a particular route during P/E hybrid-state formation, where there is asynchronous movement along rotation and tRNA coordinates. These simulations not only suggest an ordering of events, but they highlight atomic interactions that may influence the kinetics of hybrid-state formation. From these simulations, we also identify steric features (H74 and surrounding residues) encountered during the hybrid transition, and observe that flexibility of the single-stranded 3'-CCA tail is essential for it to reach the endpoint. Together, these simulations provide a set of structural and energetic signatures that suggest strategies for modulating the physical-chemical properties of protein synthesis by the ribosome.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3751958 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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