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The conformational properties of the DNA duplex d(CGCGAATTGGCG)2, which contains two noncomplementary G.G base pairs, have been examined in aqueous solution by 1H and 31P NMR as a function of temperature. The G.G mismatch is highly destabilizing, with a Tm value 35 K below that observed for the native EcoRI dodecamer. The dodecamer appears symmetric in the NMR spectra and exists largely as an average B-type DNA conformation. However, the 1H and 31P NMR spectra give evidence of considerable conformational heterogeneity at the mismatched nucleotides and their nearest neighbors, which increases with increasing temperature. There is no evidence for a significant population of the syn purine conformation. The imino protons of the mispaired bases G4 and G9 are degenerate, resonate at high field, and exchange readily with solvent. These results indicate that the mispaired bases are only weakly hydrogen-bonded and are only partially stacked into the helix. On raising the temperature, the duplex shows increasing exchange between two or more conformations originating from the mismatch sites. However, these additional conformations maintain their Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding. The increase in chemical exchange is consistent with a quasimelting process for which the G.G sites provide local nuclei. Extensive modeling studies by dynamic annealing have confirmed that the G(anti).G(anti) conformation is favored and that the mispairs are poorly stacked within the helix. The results explain both the poor thermal stability and low hypochromicity of this duplex.


Journal article



Publication Date





5411 - 5422


Base Sequence, Hydrogen Bonding, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Nucleic Acid Denaturation, Oligodeoxyribonucleotides, Phosphorus, Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet, Temperature, Thermodynamics