Characterization of the influence of external stimulus on protein-nucleic acid complex through multiscale computations
The concomitant detection, monitoring and analysis of biomolecules have assumed utmost importance in the field of medical diagnostics as well as in different spheres of biotechnology research such as drug development, environmental hazard detection and biodefense. There is an increased demand for the modulation of the biological response for such detection / sensing schemes which will be facilitated by the sensitive and controllable transmission of external stimuli. Electrostatic actuation for the controlled release/capture of biomolecules through conformational transformations of bioreceptors provides an efficient and feasible mechanism to modulate biological response. In addition, electrostatic actuation mechanism has the advantage of allowing massively parallel schemes and measurement capabilities that could ultimately be essential for biomedical applications.Experiments have previously demonstrated the unbinding of thrombin from its aptamer in presence of small positive electrode potential whereas the complex remained associated in presence of small negative potentials / zero potential. However, the nanoscale physics/chemistry involved in this process is not clearly understood. In this thesis a combination of continuum mechanics based modeling and a variety of atomistic simulation techniques have been utilized to corroborate the aforementioned experimental observations. It is found that the computational approach can satisfactorily predict the dynamics of the electrically excited aptamer-thrombin complex as well as provide an analytical model to characterize the forced binding of the complex.