Molecular dynamics simulations reveal the balance of forces governing the formation of a guanine tetrad—a common structural unit of G-quadruplex DNA
G-quadruplexes (G4) are nucleic acid conformations of guanine-rich sequences, in which guanines are arranged in the square-planar G-tetrads, stacked on one another. G4 motifs form in vivo and are implicated in regulation of such processes as gene expression and chromosome maintenance. The structure and stability of various G4 topologies were determined experimentally; however, the driving forces for their formation are not fully...
Molecular basis of the osmolyte effect on protein stability: a lesson from the mechanical unfolding of lysozyme
Osmolytes are a class of small organic molecules that shift the protein folding equilibrium. For this reason, they are accumulated by organisms under environmental stress, and find applications in biotechnology where proteins need to be stabilized or dissolved. However, despite years of research, debate continues over the exact mechanisms underpinning the stabilizing and denaturing effect of osmolytes. Here, we simulated the mechanical...
Effect of osmolytes on the thermal stability of proteins: replica exchange simulations of Trp-cage in urea and betaine solutions
Although osmolytes are known to modulate the folding equilibrium, the molecular mechanism of their effect on thermal denaturation of proteins is still poorly understood. Here, we simulated the thermal denaturation of a small model protein (Trp-cage) in the presence of denaturing (urea) and stabilizing (betaine) osmolytes, using the all-atom replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations. We found that urea destabilizes Trp-cage...
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