Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Wayne Guida


computer simulations, correlation matrix, hydrogen bonds, normal modes, principal components


Molecular dynamics simulations were performed on the influenza A non-structural protein 1 (NS1) RNA binding domain (RBD), a homodimer. Fourteen simulations were performed at 298K, nine ionized with 0.1M KCl and five with no ions. Several analysis techniques were employed to study RBD residue flexibility. The focus of the study was the RNA binding cavity formed by side chains of helix 2 (chain A) and helix 2’ (chain B) and cavity intermonomeric salt bridges. Opening of the salt bridges D29–R46’ and D29’–R46 was observed in several of the trajectories. The RNA binding cavity has large flexibility, where the dimension and shape change during the dynamics. One pair of residues surrounding the cavity and necessary for RNA binding, residues R38 and R38’, have motions during the simulations which cover the top of the cavity. There is correlation between the salt bridge breaking, flexibility of R38 and R38’, and the cavity size and shape changes. Possible RBD small molecule drug targets are these two salt bridges and the pair R38 and R38’. Disrupting the events that occur around these areas could possibly inactivate RNA binding function of the domain. These results could have implications in searching for potential molecules that effectively treat influenza A.