Atomistic to continuum model for studying mechanical properties of RNA nanotubes
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With rapid advancements in the emerging field of RNA nanotechnology, its current and potential applications, new important problems arise in our quest to better understand properties of RNA nanocomplexes. In this paper, our focus is on the modeling of RNA nanotubes which are important for many biological processes. These RNA complexes are also important for human beings, with their theurapeuti- cal and biomedical applications discussed vigorously in the literature over the recent years. Here, we develop a continuum model of RNA nanotubes, originally obtained from self assembly of RNA building blocks in the molecular dynamics simulation. Based on the finite element method, we calculate the elastic properties of these nanostructures and provide a relationship between stress and strain induced in the RNA nanotube. We also analyze the variations in the displacement vector along the assembly axis for RNA nanotubes of different sizes. In particular, we show that os- cillations in the amplitudes of strains and displacements significantly differ for such RNA nanotubes. These findings are discussed in the context of atomistic simulations and experimental results in this field.