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Biochemistry. 1992 Aug 11;31(31):7027-42.

Solution structure of the EcoRI DNA octamer containing 5-fluorouracil via restrained molecular dynamics using distance and torsion angle constraints extracted from NMR spectral simulations.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


The self-complementary DNA octamer [d(GGAATUFCC)]2, containing the EcoRI recognition sequence with one of the thymines replaced by 5-fluorouracil (UF), was synthesized. Proton homonuclear two-dimensional nuclear Overhauser effect (2D NOE) and double-quantum-filtered correlation (2QF-COSY) spectra, as well as one-dimensional spectra at different temperatures, were recorded for the octamer. Consequently, all proton resonances were assigned. The thermally induced transition from the duplex to single strands has been followed, demonstrating the stability of the duplex containing 5-fluorouracil. Simulations of the 2QF-COSY cross-peaks by means of the programs SPHINX and LINSHA were compared with experimental data, establishing scalar coupling constants for the sugar ring protons and hence sugar pucker parameters. The deoxyribose rings exhibit a dynamic equilibrium of N- and S-type conformers with 75-95% populations of the latter. Two programs used for complete relaxation matrix analysis 2D NOE spectra, CORMA and MARDIGRAS, were modified to account for the influence of the fluorines on dipolar interactions in the proton system. Quantitative assessment of the 2D NOE cross-peak intensities for different mixing times, in conjunction with the program MARDIGRAS, gave a set of interproton distances for each mixing time. The largest and smallest values of each of the interproton distances were chosen as the upper and lower bounds for each distance constraint. The distance bounds define the size of a flat-well potential function term, incorporated into the AMBER force field, which was employed for restrained molecular dynamics calculations. Torsion angle constraints in the form of a flat-well potential were also constructed from the analysis of the sugar pucker data. Several restrained molecular dynamics runs of 35 ps were performed, utilizing 284 experimental distance and torsion angle constraints and two different starting structures, energy-minimized A- and B-DNA. Convergence to similar structures with a root-mean-square deviation of 1.2 A was achieved for the central hexamer of the octamer, starting from A- and B-DNA. The average structure from six different molecular dynamics runs was subjected to final restrained energy minimization. The resulting final structure was in good agreement with the structures derived from different molecular dynamics runs and showed a substantial improvement of the 2D NOE sixth-root residual index in comparison with classical and energy-minimized B-DNA. A detailed analysis of the conformation of the final structure and comparison with structures of similar sequences, obtained by different methods, were performed.

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