Sedeh, Reza Sharifi; Pan, Keyao; Adendorff, Matthew Ralph; Hallatschek, Oskar; Bathe, Klaus-Juergen; Bathe, Mark
Computing Nonequilibrium Conformational Dynamics of Structured Nucleic Acid Assemblies

Synthetic nucleic acids can be programmed to form precise three-dimensional structures on the nanometerscale. These thermodynamically stable complexes can serve as structural scaffolds to spatially organize functional molecules including multiple enzymes, chromophores, and force-sensing elements with internal dynamics that include substrate reaction-diffusion, excitonic energy transfer, and force displacement response that often depend critically on both the local and global conformational dynamics of the nucleic acid assembly. However, high molecular weight assemblies exhibit long time-scale and large length-scale motions that cannot easily be sampled using all-atom computational procedures such as molecular dynamics. As an alternative, here we present a computational framework to compute the overdamped conformational dynamics of structured nucleic acid assemblies and apply it to a DNA-based tweezer, a nine-layer DNA origami ring, and a pointer-shaped DNA origami object, which consist of 204, 3,600, and over 7,000 basepairs, respectively. The framework employs a mechanical finite element model for the DNA nanostructure combined with an implicit solvent model to either simulate the Brownian dynamics of the assembly or alternatively compute its Brownian modes. Computational results are compared with an all-atom molecular dynamics simulation of the DNA-based tweezer. Several hundred microseconds of Brownian dynamics are simulated for the nine-layer ring origami object to reveal its long time-scale conformational dynamics, and the first ten Brownian modes of the pointer-shaped structure are predicted.


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