Base sequence effects in double helical dna.I. potential energy estimates of local base morphology

A. R. Srinivasan, Ramon Torres, William Clark, Wilma K. Olson

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94 Scopus citations


A series of potential energy calculations have been carried out to estimate base sequence dependent structural differences in B-DNA Attention has been focused on the simplest dimeric fragments that can be used to build long chains, computing the energy as a function of the orientation and displacement of the 16possible base pair combinations within the double helix. Calculations have been performed, for simplicity, on free base pairs rather than complete nucleotide units. Conformational preferences and relative flexibilities are reported for various combinations of the roll, tilt, twist, lateral displacement, and propeller twist of individual residues. The predictions are compared with relevant experimental measures of conformation and flexibility, where available. The energy surfaces are found to fit into two distinct categories, some dimer duplexes preferring to bend in a symmetric fashion and others in a skewed manner. The effects of common chemical substitutions (uracil for thymine, 5-methyl cytosine for cytosine, and hypoxanthine for guanine) on the preferred arrangements of neighboring residues are also examined, and the interactions of the sugar-phosphate backbone are included in selected cases. As a first approximation, long range interactions between more distant neighbors, which may affect the local chain configuration, are ignored. A rotational isomeric state scheme is developed to describe the average configurations of individual dimers and is used to develop a static picture of overall double helical structure. The ability of the energetic scheme to account for documented examples of intrinsic B-DNA curvature is presented, and some new predictions of sequence directed chain bending are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-496
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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