Atomistic details of the molecular recognition of DNA-RNA hybrid duplex by ribonuclease H enzyme

Gorle Suresh, U. Deva Priyakumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Bacillus halodurans (Bh) ribonuclease H (RNase H) belongs to the nucleotidyl-transferase (NT) superfamily and is a prototypical member of a large family of enzymes that use two-metal ion (Mg2+ or Mn2+) catalysis to cleave nucleic acids. Long timescale molecular dynamics simulations have been performed on the BhRNase H-DNA-RNA hybrid complex and the respective monomers to understand the recognition mechanism, conformational preorganization, active site dynamics and energetics involved in the complex formation. Several structural and energetic analyses were performed and significant structural changes are observed in enzyme and hybrid duplex during complex formation. Hybrid molecule binding to RNase H enzyme leads to conformational changes in the DNA strand. The ability of the DNA strand in the hybrid duplex to sample conformations corresponding to typical A- and B-type nucleic acids and the characteristic minor groove widthseem to be crucial for efficient binding. Sugar moieties in certain positions interacting with the protein structure undergo notable conformational transitions. The water coordination and arrangement around the metal ions in active site region are quite stable, suggesting their important role in enzymatic catalysis. Details of key interactions found at the interface of enzyme-nucleic acid complex that are responsible for its stability are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1713
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV-1 reverse transcriptase
  • MD simulations
  • conformational transition
  • protein-nucleic acid interactions.
  • retroviral therapy
  • ribonuclease H activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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