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  The stereochemistry of a four-way DNA junction: A theoretical study.

von Kitzing, E., Lilley, D. M. J., & Diekmann, S. (1990). The stereochemistry of a four-way DNA junction: A theoretical study. Nucleic Acids Research, 18(9), 2671-2683. doi:10.1093/nar/18.9.2671.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-0DD1-F Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-3867-0
Genre: Journal Article

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von Kitzing, E.1, Author              
Lilley, D. M. J., Author
Diekmann, S.1, Author              
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1Department of Molecular Biology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_578628              

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 Abstract: The stereochemical conformation of the four-way helical junction in DNA (the Holliday junction; the ostulated central intermediate of geneticr ecombination) has been analysed, using molecular mechanical computer modelling. A version of the AMBER program package was employed, that had been modified to include the influence of counterions and a global optimisation procedure. Starting from an extended planar structure, the conformation was varied in order to minimise the energy, and we discuss three structures obtained by this procedure. One structure is closely related to a square-planar cross, in which there is no stacking interaction between the four double helical stems. This structure is probably closely similar to that observed experimentally in the absence of cations. The remaining two structures are based on related, yet distinct, conformations, in which there is pairwise coaxial stacking of neighbouring stems. In these structures, the four DNA stems adopt the form of two quasi-continuous helices, in which base stacking is very similar to that found in standard B-DNA geometry. The two stacked helices so formed are not aligned parallel to each other, but subtend an angle of approximately 60°. The strands that exchange between one stacked helix and the other are disposed about the smaller angle of the cross (i.e. 60° rather than 120°), generating an approximately antiparallel alignment of DNA sequences. This structure is precisely the stacked X-structure proposed on the basis of experimental data. The calculations indicate distortions from standard BDNA conformation that are required to adopt the stacked X-structure; a widening of the minor groove at the junction, and reorientation of the central phosphate groups of the exchanging strands. An important feature of the stacked X-structure is that it presents two structurally distinct sides. These may be recognised differently by enzymes, providing a rationalisation for the points of cleavage by Holliday resolvases.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 1990-05-11
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/nar/18.9.2671
ISI: A1990DD51000011
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Title: Nucleic Acids Research
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 18 (9) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2671 - 2683 Identifier: ISSN: 0305-1048