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Journal Article

Computational biology approach to uncover hepatitis C virus helicase operation


Flechsig,  Holger
Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Flechsig, H. (2014). Computational biology approach to uncover hepatitis C virus helicase operation. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(13), 3401-3409. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i13.3401.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-E721-4
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) helicase is a molecular motor that splits nucleic acid duplex structures during viral replication, therefore representing a promising target for antiviral treatment. Hence, a detailed understanding of the mechanism by which it operates would facilitate the development of efficient drug-assisted therapies aiming to inhibit helicase activity. Despite extensive investigations performed in the past, a thorough understanding of the activity of this important protein was lacking since the underlying internal conformational motions could not be resolved. Here we review investigations that have been previously performed by us for HCV helicase. Using methods of structure-based computational modelling it became possible to follow entire operation cycles of this motor protein in structurally resolved simulations and uncover the mechanism by which it moves along the nucleic acid and accomplishes strand separation. We also discuss observations from that study in the light of recent experimental studies that confirm our findings.