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Nucleic Acids Res. 2000 Mar 15;28(6):1322-31.

The solution structure of [d(CGC)r(aaa)d(TTTGCG)](2): hybrid junctions flanked by DNA duplexes.

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  • 1Division of Structural Biology and Biomedical Science, Department of Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, Republic of China.


The solution structure and hydration of the chimeric duplex [d(CGC)r(aaa)d(TTTGCG)](2), in which the central hybrid segment is flanked by DNA duplexes at both ends, was determined using two-dimensional NMR, simulated annealing and restrained molecular dynamics. The solution structure of this chimeric duplex differs from the previously determined X-ray structure of the analogous B-DNA duplex [d(CGCAAATTTGCG)](2)as well as NMR structure of the analogous A-RNA duplex [r(cgcaaauuugcg)](2). Long-lived water molecules with correlation time tau(c)longer than 0.3 ns were found close to the RNA adenine H2 and H1' protons in the hybrid segment. A possible long-lived water molecule was also detected close to the methyl group of 7T in the RNA-DNA junction but not with the other two thymines (8T and 9T). This result correlates with the structural studies that only DNA residue 7T in the RNA-DNA junction adopts an O4'-endo sugar conformation, while the other DNA residues including 3C in the DNA-RNA junction, adopt C1'-exo or C2'-endo conformations. The exchange rates for RNA C2'-OH were found to be approximately 5-20 s(-1). This slow exchange rate may be due to the narrow minor groove width of [d(CGC)r(aaa)d(TTTGCG)](2), which may trap the water molecules and restrict the dynamic motion of hydroxyl protons. The minor groove width of [d(CGC)r(aaa)d(TTTGCG)](2)is wider than its B-DNA analog but narrower than that of the A-RNA analog. It was further confirmed by its titration with the minor groove binding drug distamycin. A possible 2:1 binding mode was found by the titration experiments, suggesting that this chimeric duplex contains a wider minor groove than its B-DNA analog but still narrow enough to hold two distamycin molecules. These distinct structural features and hydration patterns of this chimeric duplex provide a molecular basis for further understanding the structure and recognition of DNA. RNA hybrid and chimeric duplexes.

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