Groove width and depth of B-DNA structures depend on local variation in slide

J Biomol Struct Dyn. 1992 Aug;10(1):213-26. doi: 10.1080/07391102.1992.10508639.


The groove widths of DNA helix, especially minor groove width, are generally believed to be important for recognition of DNA by various types of ligands. It has been postulated earlier that large negative propeller twist, in the AT rich regions compresses the minor groove of duplex DNA. A systematic study has now been carried out by generating models with different values of local doublet and intra-basepair parameters and calculating their minor groove widths. It is found that several local doublet parameters affect the minor groove width but it depends most strongly on the local step parameters roll and slide when each parameter is considered individually. However, a detailed analysis of the various local parameters within the B-DNA family of crystal structures indicates that propeller twist and slide are most strongly correlated with the observed values of minor groove width. The groove depth is also strongly correlated with slide. Thus the local base sequence dependent variations in slide can modify both the groove width and depth and consequently determine the ligand binding properties of DNA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*


  • Ligands
  • DNA