More than 300 million people all over the world are infected by hepatitis B virus (HBV), and there are 2 million deaths per year. The Umeå researchers have studied the mobility of the virus's RNA, a property that is necessary for HBV to reproduce. Besides Jürgen Schleucher and Katja Petzold, Karin Kidd-Ljunggren of Lund University in Sweden and Sybren Wijmenga of Nijmegen University in Holland are co-authors of the article.
The structures of proteins and nucleic acids are usually presented as still images. However, the molecules' functions or interactions with drugs are dependent on structural changes, and it is possible to reach only indirect conclusions about these on the basis of still images. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is the only technology that enables studies of movements in specific parts of molecules. With the aid of NMR, the relationship between the movement and function of molecules has been mapped for many proteins, but only for a few nucleic acids. This is unfortunate, especially because several new classes of RNA with regulatory functions have recently been discovered. This means that RNA is now regarded to an even greater extent as an active regulator of cellular events, not merely a passive messenger for information.
When new HBV particles are formed in infected cells, the virus must translate RNA to DNA, a process that is called reverse transcription. It starts with the virus enzyme reverse transcriptase binding to a strongly conserved RNA structure in the virus. The authors found that fully conserved nucleotides (the building blocks of RNA) in this RNA evince striking patterns of mobility. This indicates that these nucleotides in the free RNA temporarily visit the structures that they use in complexes with reverse transcriptases, and that their mobility facilitates binding. This means that drugs directed toward the hepatitis virus RNA need to bind to a moving target.
These detailed findings are based on the first application of a new NMR method that was developed at Umeå University. The new method enables studies of movements in the bindings in the RNA molecule that give it its form. The method can also be used for complex bindings between drug candidates and proteins or nucleic acids in order to elucidate the stabilizing forces at the atomic level. Therefore, this can be a key tool in biotechnology and the discovery of new drugs. The research team is now moving on to computer simulations to produce images of the movements in an RNA.
Reference: Petzold et al., Conserved nucleotides in an RNA essential for hepatitis B virus replication show distinct mobility patterns. Nucleic Acids Research, doi:10.1093/nar/gkm774For more information, please contact Katja Petzold, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Biophysics at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone:
+46-90 786 97 19.
Pressofficer Bertil Born; email@example.com; +46-703414 303
Bertil Born | idw
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences