Mechanical anisotropy is an essential property for many biomolecules to assume their structures, functions and applications, however, the mechanisms for their direction-dependent mechanical responses remain elusive. Herein, by using a single-molecule nanopore sensing technique, we explore the mechanisms of directional mechanical stability of the xrRNA1 RNA from ZIKA virus (ZIKV), which forms a complex ring-like architecture. We reveal extreme mechanical anisotropy in ZIKV xrRNA1 which highly depends on Mg and the key tertiary interactions. The absence of Mg and disruption of the key tertiary interactions strongly affect the structural integrity and attenuate mechanical anisotropy. The significance of ring structures in RNA mechanical anisotropy is further supported by steered molecular dynamics simulations in combination with force distribution analysis. We anticipate the ring structures can be used as key elements to build RNA-based nanostructures with controllable mechanical anisotropy for biomaterial and biomedical applications.

References

PubMed