Stretched and overwound DNA forms a Pauling-like structure with exposed bases

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, NATL ACAD SCIENCES, Volume 95, Number 24, 2101 CONSTITUTION AVE NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20418 USA, p.14152-14157 (1998)

Keywords:

ELASTICITY; MOLECULE; NUCLEIC-ACIDS; PHOSPHATES; SEQUENCES; SUPERCOILED DNA; TRANSCRIPTION

Abstract:

We investigate structural transitions within a single stretched and supercoiled DNA molecule. With negative supercoiling, for a stretching force >0.3 pN, we observe the coexistence of B-DNA and denatured DNA from sigma approximate to -0.015 down to sigma = -1. Surprisingly, for positively supercoiled DNA (sigma > +0.037) stretched by 3 pN, we observe a similar coexistence of B-DNA and a new highly twisted structure. Experimental data and molecular modeling suggest that this structure has approximate to 2.62 bases per turn and an extension 75% larger than B-DNA. This structure has tightly interwound phosphate backbones and exposed bases in common with Pauling's early DNA structure {[}Pauling, L. & Corey, R. B. (1953), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 39, 84-97] and an unusual structure proposed for the Pf1 bacteriophage