Targeting structural features of viral genomes with a nano-sized supramolecular drug
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
RNA targeting is an exciting frontier for drug design. Intriguing targets include functional RNA structures in structurally-conserved untranslated regions (UTRs) of many lethal viruses. However, computational docking screens, valuable in protein structure targeting, fail for inherently flexible RNA. Herein we harness MD simulations with Markov state modeling to enable nanosize metallo-supramolecular cylinders to explore the dynamic RNA conformational landscape of HIV-1 TAR untranslated region RNA (representative for many viruses) replicating experimental observations. These cylinders are exciting as they have unprecedented nucleic acid binding and are the first supramolecular helicates shown to have anti-viral activity in cellulo: the approach developed in this study provides additional new insight about how such viral UTR structures might be targeted with the cylinder binding into the heart of an RNA-bulge cavity, how that reduces the conformational flexibility of the RNA and molecular details of the insertion mechanism. The approach and understanding developed represents a new roadmap for design of supramolecular drugs to target RNA structural motifs across biology and nucleic acid nanoscience.
|Number of pages||11|
|Early online date||5 Apr 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 28 May 2021|