Magnitude and direction of DNA bending induced by screw-axis orientation: Influence of sequence, mismatches and abasic sites

Jeremy Curuksu, Krystyna Zakrzewska, Martin Zacharias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

DNA-bending flexibility is central for its many biological functions. A new bending restraining method for use in molecular mechanics calculations and molecular dynamics simulations was developed. It is based on an average screw rotation axis definition for DNA segments and allows inducing continuous and smooth bending deformations of a DNA oligonucleotide. In addition to controlling the magnitude of induced bending it is also possible to control the bending direction so that the calculation of a complete (2-dimensional) directional DNA-bending map is now possible. The method was applied to several DNA oligonucleotides including A(adenine)-tract containing sequences known to form stable bent structures and to DNA containing mismatches or an abasic site. In case of G:A and C:C mismatches a greater variety of conformations bent in various directions compared to regular B-DNA was found. For comparison, a molecular dynamics implementation of the approach was also applied to calculate the free energy change associated with bending of A-tract containing DNA, including deformations significantly beyond the optimal curvature. Good agreement with available experimental data was obtained offering an atomic level explanation for stable bending of A-tract containing DNA molecules. The DNA-bending persistence length estimated from the explicit solvent simulations is also in good agreement with experiment whereas the adiabatic mapping calculations with a GB solvent model predict a bending rigidity roughly two times larger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2268-2283
Number of pages16
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

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