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Nucleic Acids Res. 1994 Dec 11;22(24):5497-503.

Bending and curvature calculations in B-DNA.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


A simple program, BEND, has been written to calculate the magnitude of local bending and macroscopic curvature at each point along an arbitrary B-DNA sequence, using any desired bending model that specifies values of twist, roll and tilt as a function of sequence. The program has been used to evaluate six different DNA bending models in three categories. Two are bent non-A-tract models: (a) A new model based on the nucleosome positioning data of Satchwell et al 1986 (J. Mol. Biol. 191, 659-675), (b) The model of Calladine et al 1988 (J. Mol. Biol. 201, 127-137). Three are bent A-tract models: (c) The wedge model of Bolshoy et al 1991 (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 2312-2316), (d) The model of Cacchione et al 1989 (Biochem. 28, 8706-8713), (e) A reversed version of model (b). The last is a junction model: (f) The model of Koo & Crothers 1988 (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85, 1763-1767). Although they have widely different assumptions and values for twist, roll and tilt, all six models correctly predict experimental A-tract curvature as measured by gel retardation and cyclization kinetics, but only the new nucleosome positioning model is successful in predicting curvature in regions containing phased GGGCCC sequences. This model--showing local bending at mixed sequence DNA, strong bends at the sequence GGC, and straight, rigid A-tracts--is the only model consistent with both solution data from gel retardation and cyclization kinetics and structural data from x-ray crystallography.

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