, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 645-657
Date: 04 Oct 2009

The 3D structures of G-Quadruplexes of HIV-1 integrase inhibitors: molecular dynamics simulations in aqueous solution and in the gas phase

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The unimolecular G-quadruplex structures of d(GGGTGGGTGGGTGGGT) (G1) and d(GTGGTGGGTGGGTGGGT) (G2) are known as the potent nanomolar HIV-1 integrase inhibitors, thus investigating the 3D structures of the two sequences is significant for structure-based rational anti-HIV drug design. In this research, based on the experimental data of circular dichroism (CD) spectropolarimetry and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), the initial models of G1 and G2 were constructed by molecular modeling method. The modeling structures of G1 and G2 are intramolecular parallel-stranded quadruplex conformation with three guanine tetrads. Particularly, the structure of G2 possesses a T loop residue between the first and the second G residues that are the component of two adjacent same-stranded G-tetrad planes. This structure proposed by us has a very novel geometry and is different from all reported G-quadruplexes. The extended (35 ns) molecular dynamic (MD) simulations for the models indicate that the G-quadruplexes maintain their structures very well in aqueous solution whether the existence of K+ or NH 4 + in the central channel. Furthermore, we perform 500 ns MD simulations for the models in the gas phase. The results show that all the ion-G-quadruplex complexes are maintained during the whole simulations, despite the large magnitude of phosphate-phosphate repulsions. The gas phase MD simulations provide a good explanation to ESI-MS experiments. Our 3D structures for G1 and G2 will assist in understanding geometric formalism of G-quadruplex folding and may be helpful as a platform for rational anti-HIV drug design.