Evidence for crystal environment dominating base sequence effects on DNA conformation: crystal structures of the orthorhombic and hexagonal polymorphs of the A-DNA decamer d(GCGGGCCCGC) and comparison with their isomorphous crystal structures

Biochemistry. 1993 Oct 26;32(42):11458-68. doi: 10.1021/bi00093a025.


We have determined the structure of the A-DNA decamer d(GCGGGCCCGC) in two crystal forms, orthorhombic and hexagonal, at 1.7- and 1.8-A resolution, respectively. In the orthorhombic form, the fifth guanine residue has nearly trans-trans conformations for the alpha-gamma backbone torsions, as in the isomorphous orthorhombic structure d(CCCGGCCGGG) [Ramakrishnan, B., & Sundaralingam, M. (1993) J. Mol. Biol. 231, 431-444]. However, in the hexagonal form, the eighth cytosine residue adopts the trans-trans conformations for the backbone alpha-gamma torsions, as in the isomorphous hexagonal structure d(ACCGGCCGGT) [Frederick, C. A., Quigley, G. J., Teng, M.-K., Coll, M., van der Marel, G. A., van Boom, J. H., Rich, A., & Wang, A. H.-J. (1989) Eur. J. Biochem. 181, 295-307]. Even though the average helix and base-pair parameters are nearly the same in the two polymorphous crystal forms having the same sequence, many of the base-dependent local helix parameters are quite different. However, in the isomorphous crystal forms, in spite of the differing base sequences, the local helix and base-pair parameters of the duplexes are nearly the same. This indicates that, in crystals, the local conformation of a DNA structure is affected severely by the crystal packing environment rather than by the base sequence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Crystallization
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemical synthesis
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • X-Ray Diffraction / methods


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • DNA