Highlights of our Work

Highlight: Recognizing Gene-Silencing RNA

dsRNA : dsRBD complex

image size: 1.6MB
made with VMD

Only 2% of human DNA involves genes that code for proteins, the machinery of our cells. The DNA with genes is copied into mRNA read by ribosomes that synthesize then the respective proteins. However, 80% of the remainder DNA is also copied into RNA molecules that assume then manifold functions, one being that the RNA molecules bind to mRNA and silence thereby the respective genes. Frequently, gene-silencing RNA is activated with the help of proteins called double stranded RNA binding domains (dsRBDs). These domains bind to parts of gene-silencing RNA that happens to form double strands, similar but not identical to the double strands formed by DNA and discovered long ago by Watson and Crick. In fact, there exist small but characteristic differences between double stranded RNA, double stranded DNA and hybrid double strands made of RNA and DNA. In a recent study, computational biologists performed simulations using the molecular dynamics program NAMD to determine how dsRBDs recognize silencing RNA and discriminate between double stranded RNA, DNA, and hybrid double strands. The simulations revealed that dsRBDs and double stranded RNA fit together ideally like matching pieces of a puzzle, with mutually compatible shapes and electrostatic patterns. On the other hand, dsRBDs and double stranded DNA or hybrid double strands have poor fits due to changed and insufficiently flexible double strand forms. More here.
Editorials

Quantum Biology and Polyenes-When Theorists and Experimentalists Unite

Starting with a discovery at Harvard in 1971 of a hidden state, Klaus Schulten spent a large portion of his career demystifying the polyenes, versatile molecules central to vision and photosynthesis. By Lisa Pollack. Read more

Computer Modeling in Bionanotechnology-The History

Since 2001 Illinois scientists have innovatively used molecular dynamics to simulate biological molecules combined with nanodevices. It turns out that the computational microscope is the quintessential imaging tool for these bionano systems. By Lisa Pollack. Read more

Announcements

Image of the MonthPhotosynthesis Movie ReleasedPetascale Computing at TCBG

Introducing

Seminars

  • 15 Aug 2014 - David J. Huggins
  • Research

    RSS Feed

    Software

    Outreach

    Recent Publications RSS Feed All Publications

    Recent Reviews


    All Reviews

    Highly Cited

    TCB Group