Coupling of the guanosine glycosidic bond conformation and the ribonucleotide cleavage reaction: Implications for barnase catalysis

Maite Roca, Leonardo De Maria, Shoshana J. Wodak, Vicente Moliner, Iñaki Tuñón, Jesús Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


To examine the possible relationship of guanine-dependent GpA conformations with ribonucleotide cleavage, two potential of mean force (PMF) calculations were performed in aqueous solution. In the first calculation, the guanosine glycosidic (Gχ) angle was used as the reaction coordinate, and computations were performed on two GpA ionic species: protonated (neutral) or deprotonated (negatively charged) guanosine ribose O2′. Similar energetic profiles featuring two minima corresponding to the anti and syn Gχ regions were obtained for both ionic forms. For both forms the anti conformation was more stable than the syn, and barriers of ∼4 kcal/mol were obtained for the anti → syn transition. Structural analysis showed a remarkable sensitivity of the phosphate moiety to the conformation of the G χ angle, suggesting a possible connection between this conformation and the mechanism of ribonucleotide cleavage. This hypothesis was confirmed by the second PMF calculations, for which the O2′-P distance for the deprotonated GpA was used as reaction coordinate. The computations were performed from two selected starting points: the anti and syn minima determined in the first PMF study of the deprotonated guanosine ribose O2′. The simulations revealed that the O2′ attack along the syn Gχ was more favorable than that along the anti Gχ: energetically, significantly lower barriers were obtained in the syn than in the anti conformation for the O-P bond formation; structurally, a lesser O2′-P initial distance, and a better suited orientation for an in-line attack was observed in the syn relative to the anti conformation. These results are consistent with the catalytically competent conformation of barnase-ribonucleotide complex, which requires a guanine syn conformation of the substrate to enable abstraction of the ribose H2′ proton by the general base Glu73, thereby suggesting a coupling between the reactive substrate conformation and enzyme structure and mechanism. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-428
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008


  • Conformational analysis
  • Dinucleotides
  • Nucleophilic attack
  • Potential of mean force calculations
  • RNA-protein interactions


Dive into the research topics of 'Coupling of the guanosine glycosidic bond conformation and the ribonucleotide cleavage reaction: Implications for barnase catalysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this