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Biochemistry. 1989 Aug 8;28(16):6642-51.

Quantitative analysis of DNA secondary structure from solvent-accessible surfaces: the B- to Z-DNA transition as a model.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331.


Solvent structure and its interactions have been suggested to play a critical role in defining the conformation of polynucleotides and other macromolecules. In this work, we attempt to quantitate solvent effects on the well-studied conformational transition between right-handed B- and left-handed Z-DNA. The solvent-accessible surfaces of the hexamer sequences d(m5CG)3, d(CG)3, d(CA)3, and d(TA)3 were calculated in their B- and Z-DNA conformations. The difference in hydration free energies between the Z and the B conformations (delta delta GH(Z-B] was determined from these surfaces to be -0.494 kcal/mol for C-5 methylated d(CG), 0.228 kcal/mol for unmethylated d(CG), 0.756 kcal/mol for d(CA)-d(TG), and 0.896 kcal/mol for d(TA) dinucleotides. These delta delta GH(Z-B) values were compared to the experimental B- to Z-DNA transition energies of -0.56 kcal/mol that we measured for C-5 methylated d(CG), 0.69-1.30 kcal/mol reported for unmethylated d(CG), 1.32-1.48 kcal/mol reported for d(CA)-d(TG), and 2.3-2.4 kcal/mol for d(TA) dinucleotides. From this comparison, we found that the calculated delta delta GH(Z-B) of these dinucleotides could account for the previous observation that the dinucleotides were ordered as d(m5CG) greater than d(CG) greater than d(CA)-d(TG) greater than d(TA) in stability as Z-DNA. Furthermore, we predicted that one of the primary reasons for the inability of d(TA) sequences to form Z-DNA results from a decrease in exposed hydrophilic surfaces of adjacent base pairs due to the C-5 methyl group of thymine; thus, d(UA) dinucleotides should be more stable as Z-DNA than the analogous d(TA) dinucleotides.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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