Energy Landscapes of Mini-Dumbbell DNA Octanucleotides.
Single-stranded DNA structures play a significant role in biological systems, in particular during replication, translation, and DNA repair. Tracts of simple repetitive DNA are associated with slipped-strand mispairing, which can lead to genetic diseases. Recent NMR studies of TTTA and CCTG repeats have shown that these sequences form mini-dumbbells (MDBs), leading to frameshift mutations. Here we explore the energy landscapes of (CCTG)2 and (TTTA)2, which are currently the smallest known molecules to form MDBs. While (CCTG)2 MDBs are stable, (TTTA)2 exhibits numerous other structures with lower energies. A key factor identified in the stabilization of MDB structures is the bonding strength between residues 1 and 4, and 5 and 8.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N035003/1)