Challenges with Simulating Modified RNA: Insights into Role and Reciprocity of Experimental and Computational Approaches Academic Article uri icon

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  • RNA is critical to a broad spectrum of biological and viral processes. This functional diversity is a result of their dynamic nature; the variety of three-dimensional structures that they can fold into; and a host of post-transcriptional chemical modifications. While there are many experimental techniques to study the structural dynamics of biomolecules, molecular dynamics simulations (MDS) play a significant role in complementing experimental data and providing mechanistic insights. The accuracy of the results obtained from MDS is determined by the underlying physical models i.e., the force-fields, that steer the simulations. Though RNA force-fields have received a lot of attention in the last decade, they still lag compared to their protein counterparts. The chemical diversity imparted by the RNA modifications adds another layer of complexity to an already challenging problem. Insight into the effect of RNA modifications upon RNA folding and dynamics is lacking due to the insufficiency or absence of relevant experimental data. This review provides an overview of the state of MDS of modified RNA, focusing on the challenges in parameterization of RNA modifications as well as insights into relevant reference experiments necessary for their calibration.


  • D’Esposito, Rebecca J
  • Myers, Christopher A
  • Chen, Alan
  • Vangaveti, Sweta

publication date

  • March 2022

published in