Both DNA global deformation and repair enzyme contacts mediate flipping of thymine dimer damage

Alexander Knips, Martin Zacharias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The photo-induced cis-syn-cyclobutane pyrimidine (CPD) dimer is a frequent DNA lesion. In bacteria photolyases efficiently repair dimers employing a light-driven reaction after flipping out the CPD damage to the active site. How the repair enzyme identifies a damaged site and how the damage is flipped out without external energy is still unclear. Employing molecular dynamics free energy calculations, the CPD flipping process was systematically compared to flipping undamaged nucleotides in various DNA global states and bound to photolyase enzyme. The global DNA deformation alone (without protein) significantly reduces the flipping penalty and induces a partially looped out state of the damage but not undamaged nucleotides. Bound enzyme further lowers the penalty for CPD damage flipping with a lower free energy of the flipped nucleotides in the active site compared to intra-helical state (not for undamaged DNA). Both the reduced penalty and partial looping by global DNA deformation contribute to a significantly shorter mean first passage time for CPD flipping compared to regular nucleotides which increases the repair likelihood upon short time encounter between repair enzyme and DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41324
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Both DNA global deformation and repair enzyme contacts mediate flipping of thymine dimer damage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this