Molecular mechanics studies of homopolymeric and mixed sequence Py.Pu*Pu triple helices

Indian J Biochem Biophys. 1995 Dec;32(6):391-403.


DNA triple helices containing two purine strands and one pyrimidine strand (C.G*G and T.A*A) have been studied, using model building followed by energy minimisation, for different orientations of the third strand resulting from variation in the hydrogen bonding between the Watson-Crick duplex and the third strand and the glycosidic torsion angle in the third strand. Our results show that in the C.G*G case the structure with a parallel orientation of the third strand, resulting from Hoogsteen hydrogen bonds between the third strand and the Watson-Crick duplex, is energetically the most favourable while in the T.A*A case the antiparallel orientation of the third strand, resulting from reverse Hoogsteen hydrogen bonds, is energetically the most favourable. These studies when extended to the mixed sequence triplexes, in which the second strand is a mixture of G and A, correspondingly the third strand is a mixture of G and A/T, show that though the parallel orientation is still energetically more favourable, the antiparallel orientation becomes energetically comparable with an increasing number of thymines in the third strand. Structurally, for the mixed triplexes containing G and T in the third strand, it is seen that the basepair non-isomorphism between the C.G*G and the T.A*T triplets can be overcome with some changes in the base pair parameters without much distortion of either the backbone or the hydrogen bonds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biopolymers
  • DNA, Superhelical*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Purines / chemistry*
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry*


  • Biopolymers
  • DNA, Superhelical
  • Purines
  • Pyrimidines