Structural and dynamic variations in DNA hexamers containing T-T and F-F single and tandem internal mispairs

Edward C. Sherer, Christopher J. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Molecular dynamics simulations of double-helical DNA oligomers have been performed to investigate differences in the structure, dynamics, and hydration of F-F and T-T mispairs. Hexamers containing F-F pairs were found to be more dynamic, especially in the region of the mispair itself. This dynamic variability derives from greater flexibility of F-F pairs. The T-T mispairs, on the other hand, were found to be comparatively tightly bound as wobble pairs. The major and minor groove edges of the T-T pairs were observed to be solvated at exposed carbonyl positions by at least one water molecule, while F-F pairs lacked solvating waters. Stacking interactions were nearly identical for T-T and F-F pairs, leading to similar average structures, even though F stacking was more dynamically variable. Solvation differences between F-F and T-T therefore support the steric exclusion model for nucleotide incorporation in DNA replication. Large differences in the orientation of minor groove functional groups, in addition to differences in solvation, further rationalize why F bases present during DNA extension events induce stalls. Two novel nucleotides are proposed to further elucidate minor groove interactions of DNA with polymerase molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-327
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical Chemistry Accounts
Issue number2-6
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • DNA replication
  • Nucleotide mispair
  • Principal component analysis
  • Unnatural nucleic acid base


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