Computational study of stability of an H-H-type pseudoknot motif

Jun Wang, Yunjie Zhao, Jian Wang, Yi Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Motifs in RNA tertiary structures are important to their structural organizations and biological functions. Here we consider an H-H-type pseudoknot (HHpk) motif that consists of two hairpins connected by a junction loop and with kissing interactions between the two hairpin loops. Such a tertiary structural motif is recurrently found in RNA tertiary structures, but is difficult to predict computationally. So it is important to understand the mechanism of its formation and stability. Here we investigate the stability of the HHpk tertiary structure by using an all-atom molecular dynamics simulation. The results indicate that the HHpk tertiary structure is stable. However, it is found that this stability is not due to the helix-helix packing, as is usually expected, but is maintained by the combined action of the kissing hairpin loops and junctions, although the former plays the main role. Stable HHpk motifs may form structural platforms for the molecules to realize their biological functions. These results are useful for understanding the construction principle of RNA tertiary structures and structure prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number062705
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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