Conformational flexibility of DNA: Polymorphism and handedness

Gupta, G. ; Bansal, M. ; Sasisekharan, V. (1980) Conformational flexibility of DNA: Polymorphism and handedness Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 77 (11). pp. 6486-6490. ISSN 0027-8424

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It is shown that left-handed duplexes are possible for A, B, and D forms of DNA. These duplexes are stereochemically satisfactory and are consistent with the observed x-ray intensity data. On scrutiny the refined right-handed models of B and D DNA by Arnott and coworkers are found to be stereochemically unacceptable. It was possible to formulate a stereochemical guideline for molecular model building based on theory and analysis of single-crystal structure data of dinucleoside monophosphate and higher oligomers. This led to both right- and left-handed DNA duplexes. The right-handed B and D DNA duplexes so obtained are stereochemically superior to earlier models and agree well with the observed x-ray intensity data. The observation that DNA can exist in either handedness for all the polymorphous forms of DNA at once explained A ⇌ B and B ⇌ D transitions. Hence it is confirmed that polymorphism of DNA is a reflection on the conformational flexibility inherent in DNA, the same cause that ultimately allows DNA in either handedness. The possibility of various types of right- and left-handed duplexes generated by using dinucleoside monophosphate and trinucleoside diphosphate as repeating units resulted in a variety of models, called RL models. All these models have alternating right and left helical segments and inverted stacking at the bend region as suggested by us earlier. It turns out that the B-Z DNA model of Wang et al. is only an example of RL models.

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