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J Phys Chem B. 2007 Aug 9;111(31):9400-9. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Dinucleotide TpT and its 2'-O-Me analogue possess different backbone conformations and flexibilities but similar stacked geometries.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biophysique Mol√©culaire, Cellulaire et Tissulaire, UMR 7033 CNRS, Universit√© Pierre et Marie Curie, Genopole Campus 1, RN7, Evry 91030, France.


UV irradiation at 254 nm of 2'-O,5-dimethyluridylyl(3'-5')-2'-O,5-dimethyluridine (1a) and of natural thymidylyl(3'-5')thymidine (1b) generates the same photoproducts (CPD and (6-4)PP; responsible for cell death and skin cancer). The ratios of quantum yields of photoproducts obtained from 1a (determined herein) to that from 1b are in a proportion close to the approximately threefold increase of stacked dinucleotides for 1a compared with those of 1b (from previous circular dichroism results). 1a and 1b however are endowed with different predominant sugar conformations, C3'-endo (1a) and C2'-endo (1b). The present investigation of the stacked conformation of these molecules, by unrestrained state-of-the-art molecular simulation in explicit solvent and salt, resolves this apparent paradox and suggests the following main conclusions. Stacked dinucleotides 1a and 1b adopt the main characteristic features of a single-stranded A and B form, respectively, where the relative positions of the backbone and the bases are very different. Unexpectedly, the geometry of the stacking of two thymine bases, within each dinucleotide, is very similar and is in excellent agreement with photochemical and circular dichroism results. Analyses of molecular dynamics trajectories with conformational adiabatic mapping show that 1a and 1b explore two different regions of conformational space and possess very different flexibilities. Therefore, even though their base stacking is very similar, these molecules possess different geometrical, mechanical, and dynamical properties that may account for the discrepancy observed between increased stacking and increased photoproduct formations. The computed average stacked conformations of 1a and 1b are well-defined and could serve as starting models to investigate photochemical reactions with quantum dynamics simulations.

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