ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0333.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: small RNA Oxys; RNA chaperone Hfq protein; gene expression regulator; molecular dynamics simulations; binding free energy; interaction entropy
Online: 20 September 2021 (12:47:28 CEST)
Under the oxidative stress condition, the small RNA (sRNA) Oxys that acts as essential post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression is produced and plays a regulatory function with the assistance of the RNA chaperone Hfq protein. Interestingly, experimental studies found that the N48A mutation of Hfq protein could enhance the binding affinity with OxyS while resulting in defection of gene regulation. But, how the Hfq protein interacts with sRNA Oxys and the origin of the stronger affinity of N48A mutation are both unclear. In this paper, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed on the complex structure of Hfq and OxyS to explore their binding mechanism. The molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) and interaction entropy (IE) method were combined to calculate the binding free energy between Hfq and OxyS sRNA, and the computational result is in excellent correlation with the experimental result. Per-residue decomposition of the binding free energy revealed that the enhanced binding ability of the N48A mutation mainly comes from the increased van der Waals interactions (vdW). This research explores the binding mechanism between Oxys and chaperone protein Hfq, and revealed the origin of the strong binding affinity of N48A mutation. The results provided important insights on the mechanism of gene expression regulation affected by protein mutations.