Calculation of Energy for RNA/RNA and DNA/RNA Duplex Formation by Molecular Dynamics Simulation

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The development of approaches for predictive calculation of hybridization properties of various nucleic acid (NA) derivatives is the basis for the rational design of the NA-based constructs. Modern advances in computer modeling methods provide the feasibility of these calculations. We have analyzed the possibility of calculating the energy of DNA/RNA and RNA/RNA duplex formation using representative sets of complexes (65 and 75 complexes, respectively). We used the classical molecular dynamics (MD) method, the MMPBSA or MMGBSA approaches to calculate the enthalpy (ΔH°) component, and the quasi-harmonic approximation (Q-Harm) or the normal mode analysis (NMA) methods to calculate the entropy (ΔS°) contribution to the Gibbs energy ($$\Delta G_{{37}}^{^\circ }$$) of the NA complex formation. We have found that the MMGBSA method in the analysis of the MD trajectory of only the NA duplex and the empirical linear approximation allow calculation of the enthalpy of formation of the DNA, RNA, and hybrid duplexes of various lengths and GC content with an accuracy of 8.6%. Within each type of complex, the combination of rather efficient MMGBSA and Q-Harm approaches being applied to the trajectory of only the bimolecular complex makes it possible to calculate the $$\Delta G_{{37}}^{^\circ }$$ of the duplex formation with an error value of 10%. The high accuracy of predictive calculation for different types of natural complexes (DNA/RNA, DNA/RNA, and RNA/RNA) indicates the possibility of extending the considered approach to analogs and derivatives of nucleic acids, which gives a fundamental opportunity in the future to perform rational design of new types of NA-targeted sequence-specific compounds.

Translated title of the contributionРасчет энергии формирования дуплексов РНК/РНК и ДНК/РНК на основании метода молекулярной динамики
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)927-940
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • duplexes
  • hybridization
  • molecular dynamics
  • oligonucleotides
  • thermal stability




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