The A and B conformations of DNA and RNA subunits. Potential energy calculations for dGpdC

Broyde, Suse B.; Stellman, Steven D.; Wartell, Roger M.

In order to obtain a molecular picture of the A and B forms of a DNA subunit, potential energy calculations have been made for dGpdC with C(3′)-endo and C(2′)-endo [or C(3′)-exo] sugar puckerings. These are compared with results for GpC. The global minima for dGpdC and GpC are almost identical. They are like A-form duplex DNA and RNA, respectively, with bases anti, the ω′, ω angle pair near 300°, 280°, and sugar pucker C(3′)-endo. For dGpdC, a B-form helical conformer, with sugar pucker C(2′)-endo and ω′ = 257°, ω = 298°, is found only 0.4 kcal/mol above the global minimum. A second low-energy conformation (2.3 kcal/mol) has ω′ = 263°, ω = 158° and ψ near 180°. This has dihedral angles like the original Watson–Crick model of the double helix. In contrast, for GpC, the C(2′)-endo B form is 6.9 kcal/mol above the global minimum. These theoretical results are consistent with experimental studies on DNA and RNA fibers. DNA fibers exist in both A and B forms, while RNA fibers generally assume only the A form. A low-energy conformation unlike the A or B forms was found for both dGpdC and GpC when the sugars were C(3′)-endo. This conformation—ω′,ω near 20°,80°—was not observed for C(2′)-endo dGpdC. Energy surface maps in the ω′,ω plane showed that C(2′)-endo dGpdC has one low-energy valley. It is in the B-form helical region (ω′ ∼ 260°, ω ∼ 300). When the sugar pucker is C(3′)-endo, dGpdC has two low-energy regions: the A-form helical region and the region with the minimum at ω′ = 16°, ω = 85°.


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May 9, 2014