Gregory R. Bowman, Xuhui Huang, Yuan Yao, Jian Sun, Gunnar Carlsson, Leonidas J. Guibas, and Vijay S. Pande
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130 (30), 9676–9678, 2008
ABSTRACT. Hairpins are a ubiquitous secondary structure motif in RNA molecules. Despite their simple structure, there is some debate over whether they fold in a two-state or multi-state manner. We have studied the folding of a small tetraloop hairpin using a serial version of replica exchange molecular dynamics on a distributed computing environment. On the basis of these simulations, we have identified a number of intermediates that are consistent with experimental results. We also find that folding is not simply the reverse of high-temperature unfolding and suggest that this may be a general feature of biomolecular folding.