Structure and Dynamics of Nucleic Acids - Jiří Šponer
Structure and Dynamics of Nucleic Acids - Jiří Šponer

Our team is one of the world-leading laboratories in classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies on RNA molecules, including riboswitches and RNA catalysis. Besides investigations of specific biochemically important systems, we have been developing empirical potentials for MD simulations, i.e., force fields, that are used in many laboratories around the globe.

Key references:

Šponer J, Bussi G, Krepl M, Banáš P, Bottaro S, Cunha RA, Ley AG, Pinamonti G, Poblete S, Jurečka P, Walter NG, Otyepka M: RNA Structural Dynamics As Captured by Molecular Simulations: A Comprehensive Overview. Chem. Rev., 118(8), 4177–4338, 2018. (

Ripin, N.; Boudet, J.; Duszczyk, M. M.; Hinniger, A.; Faller, M.; Krepl, M.; Gadi, A.; Schneider, R. J.; Šponer, J.; Meisner-Kober, N. C., et al., Molecular Basis for AU-rich Element Recognition and Dimerization by the HuR C-terminal RRM. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019. (

Havrila, M.; Stadlbauer, P.; Kührová, P.; Banáš, P.; Mergny, J.-L.; Otyepka, M.; Šponer, J., Structural Dynamics of Propeller Loop: Towards Folding of RNA G-quadruplex. Nucleic Acids Research 2018, 46, 8754-8771.(

Kührová, P., Mlynsky, V., Zgarbova, M., Krepl, M., Bussi, G., Best, R.B., Otyepka, M., Sponer, J. and Banáš, P., 2019. Improving the Performance of the AMBER RNA Force Field by Tuning the Hydrogen-bonding Interactions. J. Chem. Theory Comput., 2019. (

Ferus, M.; Laitl, V.; Knizek, A.; Kubelík, P.; Sponer, J.; Kára, J.; Sponer, J. E.; Lefloch, B.; Cassone, G.; Civiš, S., HNCO-based Synthesis of Formamide in Planetary Atmospheres. Astronomy & Astrophysics 2018, 616, A150. (

Saladino, R.; Šponer, J. E.; Šponer, J.; Costanzo, G.; Pino, S.; Di Mauro, E., Chemomimesis and Molecular Darwinism in Action: From Abiotic Generation of Nucleobases to Nucleosides and RNA. Life 2018, 8, e24. (




Prof. Jiří Šponer Prof. Jiří Šponer
Research Group Leader Senior
Judit Šponerová, Ph.D. Judit Šponerová, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher

Research areas

  • RNA structural dynamics, folding and catalysis.
  • Protein-RNA complexes.
  • DNA, with focus on G-quadruplexes.
  • Diverse types of quantum-chemical studies on nucleic acids systems.
  • Origin of life (prebiotic chemistry), i.e., creation of the simplest chemical life on our planet (or anywhere else in the Universe).

Main objectives

  • Understanding of the most basic principles of structural dynamics, function and evolution of DNA and RNA.
  • Development of new methodologies for investigating the structure, interactions, and dynamics of biomolecules.
  • Testing/parameterization of molecular mechanical force fields for DNA and RNA.

Content of research

We use a wide spectrum of state-of-the-art computational techniques, including explicit solvent molecular dynamics simulations, advanced ab initio quantum-chemical calculations and modern bioinformatics.

For details see: