Phosphates in the Z-DNA dodecamer are flexible, but their P-SAD signal is sufficient for structure solution.
ABSTRACT: A large number of Z-DNA hexamer duplex structures and a few oligomers of different lengths are available, but here the first crystal structure of the d(CGCGCGCGCGCG)2 dodecameric duplex is presented. Two synchrotron data sets were collected; one was used to solve the structure by the single-wavelength anomalous dispersion (SAD) approach based on the anomalous signal of P atoms, the other set, extending to an ultrahigh resolution of 0.75 Å, served to refine the atomic model to an R factor of 12.2% and an R(free) of 13.4%. The structure consists of parallel duplexes arranged into practically infinitely long helices packed in a hexagonal fashion, analogous to all other known structures of Z-DNA oligomers. However, the dodecamer molecule shows a high level of flexibility, especially of the backbone phosphate groups, with six out of 11 phosphates modeled in double orientations corresponding to the two previously observed Z-DNA conformations: Z(I), with the phosphate groups inclined towards the inside of the helix, and Z(II), with the phosphate groups rotated towards the outside of the helix.
Project description:Rigid spin-labeled nucleoside C, an analog of deoxycytidine that base-pairs with deoxyguanosine, was incorporated into DNA oligomers by chemical synthesis. Thermal denaturation experiments and circular dichroism (CD) measurements showed that C has a negligible effect on DNA duplex stability and conformation. Nucleoside C was incorporated into several positions within single-stranded DNA oligomers that can adopt two hairpin conformations of similar energy, each of which contains a four-base loop. The relative mobility of nucleotides in the alternating C/G hairpin loops, 5'-d(GCGC) and 5'-d(CGCG), was determined by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. The most mobile nucleotide in the loop is the second one from the 5'-end, followed by the third, first and fourth nucleotides, consistent with previous NMR studies of DNA hairpin loops of different sequences. The EPR hairpin data were also corroborated by fluorescence spectroscopy using oligomers containing reduced C (C(f)), which is fluorescent. Furthermore, EPR spectra of duplex DNAs that contained C at the end of the helix showed features that indicated dipolar coupling between two spins. These data are consistent with end-to-end duplex stacking in solution, which was only observed when G was paired to C, but not when C was paired with A, C or T.
Project description:We present a systematic study of the long-timescale dynamics of the Drew-Dickerson dodecamer (DDD: d(CGCGAATTGCGC)2) a prototypical B-DNA duplex. Using our newly parameterized PARMBSC1 force field, we describe the conformational landscape of DDD in a variety of ionic environments from minimal salt to 2 M Na(+)Cl(-) or K(+)Cl(-) The sensitivity of the simulations to the use of different solvent and ion models is analyzed in detail using multi-microsecond simulations. Finally, an extended (10 ?s) simulation is used to characterize slow and infrequent conformational changes in DDD, leading to the identification of previously uncharacterized conformational states of this duplex which can explain biologically relevant conformational transitions. With a total of more than 43 ?s of unrestrained molecular dynamics simulation, this study is the most extensive investigation of the dynamics of the most prototypical DNA duplex.
Project description:The X-ray crystal structure of the DNA tetradecamer sequence d(CCGGGGTACCCCGG)2 is reported at 1.4?Å resolution in the tetragonal space group P41212. The sequence was designed to fold as a four-way junction. However, it forms an A-type double helix in the presence of barium chloride. The metal ion could not be identified in the electron-density map. The crystallographic asymmetric unit consists of one A-type double helix with 12 base pairs per turn, in contrast to 11 base pairs per turn for canonical A-DNA. A large number of solvent molecules have been identified in both the grooves of the duplex and around the backbone phosphate groups.
Project description:The Dickerson-Drew dodecamer (DD) d-[CGCGAATTCGCG]2 is a prototypic B-DNA molecule whose sequence-specific structure and dynamics have been investigated by many experimental and computational studies. Here, we present an analysis of DD properties based on extensive atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using different ionic conditions and water models. The 0.6-2.4-µs-long MD trajectories are compared to modern crystallographic and NMR data. In the simulations, the duplex ends can adopt an alternative base-pairing, which influences the oligomer structure. A clear relationship between the BI/BII backbone substates and the basepair step conformation has been identified, extending previous findings and exposing an interesting structural polymorphism in the helix. For a given end pairing, distributions of the basepair step coordinates can be decomposed into Gaussian-like components associated with the BI/BII backbone states. The nonlocal stiffness matrices for a rigid-base mechanical model of DD are reported for the first time, suggesting salient stiffness features of the central A-tract. The Riemann distance and Kullback-Leibler divergence are used for stiffness matrix comparison. The basic structural parameters converge very well within 300 ns, convergence of the BI/BII populations and stiffness matrices is less sharp. Our work presents new findings about the DD structural dynamics, mechanical properties, and the coupling between basepair and backbone configurations, including their statistical reliability. The results may also be useful for optimizing future force fields for DNA.
Project description:A key challenge in the SAD phasing method is solving a structure when the anomalous signal-to-noise ratio is low. A simple theoretical framework for describing measurements of anomalous differences and the resulting useful anomalous correlation and anomalous signal in a SAD experiment is presented. Here, the useful anomalous correlation is defined as the correlation of anomalous differences with ideal anomalous differences from the anomalous substructure. The useful anomalous correlation reflects the accuracy of the data and the absence of minor sites. The useful anomalous correlation also reflects the information available for estimating crystallographic phases once the substructure has been determined. In contrast, the anomalous signal (the peak height in a model-phased anomalous difference Fourier at the coordinates of atoms in the anomalous substructure) reflects the information available about each site in the substructure and is related to the ability to find the substructure. A theoretical analysis shows that the expected value of the anomalous signal is the product of the useful anomalous correlation, the square root of the ratio of the number of unique reflections in the data set to the number of sites in the substructure, and a function that decreases with increasing values of the atomic displacement factor for the atoms in the substructure. This means that the ability to find the substructure in a SAD experiment is increased by high data quality and by a high ratio of reflections to sites in the substructure, and is decreased by high atomic displacement factors for the substructure.
Project description:Concentrated solutions of duplex-forming DNA oligomers organize into various mesophases among which is the nematic (N(?)), which exhibits a macroscopic chiral helical precession of molecular orientation because of the chirality of the DNA molecule. Using a quantitative analysis of the transmission spectra in polarized optical microscopy, we have determined the handedness and pitch of this chiral nematic helix for a large number of sequences ranging from 8 to 20 bases. The B-DNA molecule exhibits a right-handed molecular double-helix structure that, for long molecules, always yields N(?) phases with left-handed pitch in the ?m range. We report here that ultrashort oligomeric duplexes show an extremely diverse behavior, with both left- and right-handed N(?) helices and pitches ranging from macroscopic down to 0.3 ?m. The behavior depends on the length and the sequence of the oligomers, and on the nature of the end-to-end interactions between helices. In particular, the N(?) handedness strongly correlates with the oligomer length and concentration. Right-handed phases are found only for oligomers shorter than 14 base pairs, and for the sequences having the transition to the N(?) phase at concentration larger than 620 mg/mL. Our findings indicate that in short DNA, the intermolecular double-helical interactions switch the preferred liquid crystal handedness when the columns of stacked duplexes are forced at high concentrations to separations comparable to the DNA double-helix pitch, a regime still to be theoretically described.
Project description:A.G base-paired mismatches that occur during replication are among the most difficult to detect by repair enzymes. Such purine.purine mispairs can exist in two conformations, one of which is stabilized by protons [Gao & Patel (1988) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 110, 5178-5182]. We have undertaken a 1H-n.m.r. and 31P-n.m.r. study of the mismatched dodecamer d(CGCAAATTGGCG)2 as a function of both temperature and pH to determine the conformational features of the A.G mismatch. At pH greater than 7 the mispaired bases are each in the anti conformation and are stacked in the B-like helix. As the pH is decreased, a second conformation becomes populated (apparent pKa approx. 5.9) with concomitant changes in the chemical shifts of protons of the mispaired bases and their nearest neighbours. Data from two-dimensional nuclear-Overhauser-enhancement spectroscopy show unequivocally that, at low pH, the dominant conformation is one in which the mismatched G residues are in the syn conformation and are hydrogen-bonded to the A residues that remain in the anti conformation. Residues not adjacent to the A.G sites are almost unaffected by the transition or the mispairing, suggesting considerable local flexibility of the unconstrained duplexes. Despite the bulging of the mispaired bases, the conformation of the A(anti).G(anti) duplex is very similar to the native dodecamer, whereas the AH+(anti).G(syn) duplex shows a greater variation in the backbone conformation at the mismatched site. According to the chemical shifts, the duplex retains twofold symmetry in solution. The equilibrium between the syn and anti conformations of G9/G21 is strongly dependent on pH, but only weakly dependent on temperature (delta H approx. 16 kJ.mol-1). The first-order rate constant for the transition is approx. 9 s-1 at 283 K and approx. 60 s-1 at 298 K, with an activation enthalpy of approx. 100 kJ.mol-1. The stabilization of the A(anti).G(syn) conformation by protons is consistent with models invoking N1 protonation of adenine. Using the derived glycosidic torsion angles we have used restrained molecular dynamics to build models of the neutral and protonated d(CGCAAATTGGCG)2 oligomers. The results confirm that the A(anti).G(anti) and AH+(anti).G(syn) conformations are favoured at high pH and low pH respectively, in accord with n.m.r. and single-crystal X-ray data.
Project description:The crystal structure of the RNA dodecamer 5'-GGCC(GAAA)GGCC-3' has been determined from x-ray diffraction data to 2.3-A resolution. In the crystal, these oligomers form double helices around twofold symmetry axes. Four consecutive non-Watson-Crick base pairs make up an internal loop in the middle of the duplex, including sheared G.A pairs and novel asymmetric A.A pairs. This internal loop sequence produces a significant curvature and narrowing of the double helix. The helix is curved by 34 degrees from end to end and the diameter is narrowed by 24% in the internal loop. A Mn2+ ion is bound directly to the N7 of the first guanine in the Watson-Crick region following the internal loop and the phosphate of the preceding residue. This Mn2+ location corresponds to a metal binding site observed in the hammerhead catalytic RNA.
Project description:Locked nucleic acid (LNA) is a chemically modified nucleic acid with its sugar ring locked in an RNA-like (C3'-endo) conformation. LNAs show extraordinary thermal stabilities when hybridized with DNA, RNA or LNA itself. We performed molecular dynamics simulations on five isosequential duplexes (LNA-DNA, LNA-LNA, LNA-RNA, RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA) in order to characterize their structure, dynamics and hydration. Structurally, the LNA-DNA and LNA-RNA duplexes are found to be similar to regular RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA duplexes, whereas the LNA-LNA duplex is found to have its helix partly unwound and does not resemble RNA-RNA duplex in a number of properties. Duplexes with an LNA strand have on average longer interstrand phosphate distances compared to RNA-DNA and RNA-RNA duplexes. Furthermore, intrastrand phosphate distances in LNA strands are found to be shorter than in DNA and slightly shorter than in RNA. In case of induced sugar puckering, LNA is found to tune the sugar puckers in partner DNA strand toward C3'-endo conformations more efficiently than RNA. The LNA-LNA duplex has lesser backbone flexibility compared to the RNA-RNA duplex. Finally, LNA is less hydrated compared to DNA or RNA but is found to have a well-organized water structure.
Project description:Complexes formed from DNA and polycations are of interest because of their potential use in gene therapy; however, there remains a lack of understanding of the structure and formation of DNA-polycation complexes at atomic scale. In this work, molecular dynamics simulations of the DNA duplex d(CGCGAATTCGCG) in the presence of polycation chains are carried out to shed light on the specific atomic interaction that result in complex formation. The structures of complexes formed from DNA with polyethylenimine, which is considered one of the most promising DNA vector candidates, and a second polycation, poly-L-lysine, are compared. After an initial separation of approximately 50 A, the DNA and polycation come together and form a stable complex within 10 ns. The DNA does not undergo any major structural changes on complexation and remains in the B-form. In the formed complex, the charged amine groups of the polycation mainly interact with DNA phosphate groups, with polycation intrusion into the major and minor grooves dependent on the identity and charge state of the polycation. The ability of the polycation to effectively neutralize the charge of the DNA phosphate groups and the resulting influence on the DNA helix interaction are discussed.