July 19, 2015) A group of scientists at SISSA proposes a quick alternative for predicting the internal dynamics of RNA molecules (how the different parts move in relation to each other). This simple solution, which uses beads and springs, provides similar results to other, more complex and expensive
techniques for analyzing molecules that are currently in use. The study was published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.
It is called The Elastic Network Model (ENM) and it can predict the internal dynamics of RNA molecules in nearly real time (processing takes just a few seconds). To understand RNA functioning, it is useful to know the composition of the nucleotide sequence and the three dimensional shape of the molecule as well as its internal dynamics: how the different parts of the molecule move together, which are rigid or more elastic, which are connected or independent, etc. To understand these aspects, Molecular Dynamics, an extremely accurate computer simulation method, is often used but has the drawback of being very expensive. Calculation can take days or weeks.