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Biochemistry. 1989 Sep 19;28(19):7842-9.

Sequence dependence of DNA conformational flexibility.

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  • 1Laboratory of Mathematical Biology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


By using conformational free energy calculations, we have studied the sequence dependence of flexibility and its anisotropy along various conformational variables of DNA base pairs. The results show the AT base step to be very flexible along the twist coordinate. On the other hand, homonucleotide steps, GG(CC) and AA(TT), are among the most rigid sequences. For the roll motion that would correspond to a bend, the TA step is most flexible, while the GG(CC) step is least flexible. The flexibility of roll is quite anisotropic; the ratio of fluctuations toward the major and minor grooves is the largest for the GC step and the smallest for the AA(TT) and CG steps. Propeller twisting of base pairs is quite flexible, especially of A.T base pairs; propeller twist can reach 19 degrees by thermal fluctuation. We discuss the effect of electrostatic parameters, comparison with available experimental results, and biological relevance of these results.

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