The Laboratoire International Associé between the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was launched at the end of 2012. Its primary objective is to develop methods for high-performance molecular simulation with the aim of understanding the function of complex biological assemblies, transcending the frontiers of traditional disciplines by uniting mathematicians, physicists, theoretical chemists and biologists on both sides of the Atlantic. In France, the major contributors are located at the Université de Lorraine, the École des Ponts ParisTech, the Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Protéines-Université Claude Bernard and the Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Macromoléculaires-Université d'Aix-Marseille. In the United States, the contributors belong to the NIH Resource for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics. In Nancy, the partner is a theoretical chemistry and biophysics group incepted in 2003. Its expertise lies in describing the structure and the dynamic properties of the biological membrane and elucidating the mechanisms of the cell machinery. To attain this goal, its members leverage numerical simulations over size and timescales commensurate with the biological process at hand. Over the years, the team has gleaned milestone results in such diverse research areas as membrane transport, interaction with the biological membrane, membrane protein structure and function, as well as self-organized molecular systems. They also develop original approaches in the field of free-energy calculations, as well as that of intermolecular potentials.
Molecular mechanism of processive 3′ to 5′ RNA translocation in the active subunit of the RNA exosome complex. Recent experimental studies revealed structural details of 3′ to 5′ degradation of RNA molecules, performed byt he exosome complex. ssRNA is channeled through its multisubunit ring-like core into the active site tunnel of its key exonuclease subunit Rrp44, which acts both as an enzyme and a motor. Even in isolation, Rrp44 can pull and sequentially cleave RNA nucleotides, one at a time, without any external energy input and release a final 3−5 nucleotide long product. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we identify the main factors that control these processes. Our free energy calculations reveal that RNA transfer from solution into the active site of Rrp44 is highly favorable, but dependent on the length of the RNA strand. While RNA strands formed by 5 nucleotides or more correspond to a decreasing free energy along the translocation coordinate toward the cleavage site, a 4-nucleotide RNA experiences a free energy barrier along the same direction, potentially leading to incomplete cleavage of ssRNA and the release of short (3−5) nucleotide products. We provide new insight into how Rrp44 catalyzes a localized enzymatic reaction and performs an action distributed over several RNA nucleotides, leading eventually to the translocation of whole RNA segments into the position suitable for cleavage. Journal of the American Chemical Society., 2016.
Correlation of bistranded clustered abasic DNA lesion processing with structural and dynamic DNA helix distortion.
Nucleic Acids Res.
2016, (44), 8588-8599.
Wang, S.; Zhao, T.; Shao, X.; Chipot, C.; Cai, W.
Complex movements in rotaxanes: Shuttling coupled with conformational transition of cyclodextrins
J. Phys. Chem. C
2016, (120), 19479-19486.
Gattuso, H.; Durand, E.; Bignon, E.; Morell, C.; Georgakilas, A. G.; Dumont, E.; Chipot, C.; Dehez, F.; Monari, A.
Repair rate of clustered abasic DNA lesions by human endonuclease: Molecular bases of sequence specificity
J. Phys. Chem. Lett
2016, (19), 3760-3765.