Towards a Better Understanding of Computational Models for Predicting DNA Methylation Effects at the Molecular Level

Author(s): Nathanael K. Proctor, Tugba Ertan-Bolelli, Kayhan Bolelli, Ethan W. Taylor, Norman H.L. Chiu, J. Phillip Bowen*

Journal Name: Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 20 , Issue 10 , 2020


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Abstract:

Human DNA is a very sensitive macromolecule and slight changes in the structure of DNA can have disastrous effects on the organism. When nucleotides are modified, or changed, the resulting DNA sequence can lose its information, if it is part of a gene, or it can become a problem for replication and repair. Human cells can regulate themselves by using a process known as DNA methylation. This methylation is vitally important in cell differentiation and expression of genes. When the methylation is uncontrolled, however, or does not occur in the right place, serious pathophysiological consequences may result. Excess methylation causes changes in the conformation of the DNA double helix. The secondary structure of DNA is highly dependent upon the sequence. Therefore, if the sequence changes slightly the secondary structure can change as well. These slight changes will then cause the doublestranded DNA to be more open and available in some places where large adductions can come in and react with the DNA base pairs. Computer models have been used to simulate a variety of biological processes including protein function and binding, and there is a growing body of evidence that in silico methods can shed light on DNA methylation. Understanding the anomeric effect that contributes to the structural and conformational flexibility of furanose rings through a combination of quantum mechanical and experimental studies is critical for successful molecular dynamic simulations.

Keywords: DNA, DNA methylation, nucleosides, nucleotides, molecular mechanics (MM), molecular dynamics (MD), MD simulations, computational chemistry, quantum mechanics (QM), density functional theory (DFT), QM/MM, ab initio calculations, anomeric effect, conformations, pseudorotation.

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VOLUME: 20
ISSUE: 10
Year: 2020
Published on: 25 February, 2020
Page: [901 - 909]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/1568026620666200226110019
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