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Biopolymers. 1997 Jun;41(7):773-84.

Homopurine and homopyrimidine strands complementary in parallel orientation form an antiparallel duplex at neutral pH with A-C, G-T, and T-C mismatched base pairs.

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Chemical Physics Group, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay, India.


DNA sequences d-TGAGGAAAGAAGGT (a 14-mer) and d-CTCCTTTCTTCC (a 12-mer) are complementary in parallel orientation forming either Donohue (reverse Watson-Crick) base pairing at neutral pH or Hoogsteen base pairing at slightly acidic pH. The structure of the complex formed by dissolving the two strands in equimolar ratio in water has been investigated by nmr. At neutral pH, the system forms an ordered antiparallel duplex with five A : T and four G : C Watson-Crick base pairs and three mismatches, namely G-T, A-C, and T-C. The nuclear Overhauser effect cross-peak pattern suggests an overall B-DNA conformation with major structural perturbations near the mismatches. The duplex has a low melting point and dissociates directly into single strands with a broad melting profile. The hydrogen-bonding schemes in the mismatched base pairs have been investigated. It has been shown earlier that in acidic pH, the system prefers a triple-stranded structure with two pyrimidine strands and one purine strand. One of the pyrimidine strands has protonated cytosines, forms Hoogsteen base pairing, and is aligned parallel to the purine strand; the other has nonprotonated cytosines and has base-pairing scheme similar to the one discussed in this paper. The parallel duplex is therefore less stable than either the antiparallel duplex or the triplex, in spite of its perfect complementarity.

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