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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interaction and solvation energies of nonpolar DNA base analogues and their role in polymerase insertion fidelity.

Although DNA polymerase fidelity has been mainly ascribed to Watson-Crick hydrogen bonds, two nonpolar isosteres for thymine ( T) and adenine (A)--difluorotoluene (F) and benzimidazole (Z) --effectively mimic their natural counterparts in polymerization experiments with pol I (KF exo-) [JC Morales and ET Kool. Nature Struct Biol, 5, 950-954, 1998]. By ab initio quantum chemical gas phase methods (HF/6-31G* and MP2/6-31G**) and a solvent phase method (CPCM-HF/6-31G**), we find that the A-F interaction energy is 1/3 the A-T interaction energy in the gas phase and unstable in the solvent phase. The F-Z and T-Z interactions are very weak and T-Z is quite unstable in the solvent. Electrostatic solvation energy calculations on F, Z and toluene yield that Z is two times, and F and toluene are five times, less hydrophilic than the natural bases. Of the new "base-pairs" (F-Z, T-Z, and F-A), only F-A formed an A-T-like arrangement in unconstrained optimizations. F-Z and T-Z do not freely form planar arrangements, and constrained optimizations show that large amounts of energy are required to make these pairs fit the exact A-T geometry, suggesting that the polymerase does not require all bases to conform to the exact A-T geometry. We discuss a model for polymerase/nucleotide binding energies and investigate the forces and conformational range involved in the polymerase geometrical selection.[1]


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