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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun 19;98(13):7265-70. Epub 2001 Jun 5.

A crystallographic map of the transition from B-DNA to A-DNA.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, ALS 2011, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


The transition between B- and A-DNA was first observed nearly 50 years ago. We have now mapped this transformation through a set of single-crystal structures of the sequence d(GGCGCC)2, with various intermediates being trapped by methylating or brominating the cytosine bases. The resulting pathway progresses through 13 conformational steps, with a composite structure that pairs A-nucleotides with complementary B-nucleotides serving as a distinct transition intermediate. The details of each step in the conversion of B- to A-DNA are thus revealed at the atomic level, placing intermediates for this and other sequences in the context of a common pathway.

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