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J Chem Phys. 2012 Sep 14;137(10):105102. doi: 10.1063/1.4748105.

Ab initio determination of coarse-grained interactions in double-stranded DNA.

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Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We derive the coarse-grained interactions between DNA nucleotides from ab initio total-energy calculations based on density functional theory (DFT). The interactions take into account base and sequence specificity, and are decomposed into physically distinct contributions that include hydrogen bonding, stacking interactions, backbone, and backbone-base interactions. The interaction energies of each contribution are calculated from DFT for a wide range of configurations and are fitted by simple analytical expressions for use in the coarse-grained model, which reduces each nucleotide into two sites. This model is not derived from experimental data, yet it successfully reproduces the stable B-DNA structure and gives good predictions for the persistence length. It may be used to realistically probe dynamics of DNA strands in various environments at the μs time scale and the μm length scale.

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